Media Law Resource Center

Serving the Media Law Community Since 1980

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Reporter's Privilege/Shield Laws

Journalists frequently are faced with subpoenas and court orders requiring them to testify and, in many instances, to reveal the identity of confidential sources or unpublished information.  Journalists and news organizations are reliant on state statutes or state or federal case law to provide a privilege against testimony in state or federal courts or administrative proceedings.

MLRC has collected a variety of materials on the reporter’s privilege, including information regarding efforts to enact a federal shield law, proposed state shield laws, existing state shield law statutes, and recent federal and state cases involving the privilege.

Model Shield Law

Click here for MLRC's model shield law.  

Proposed Federal Shield Law Bills

Click here for information about past proposed Federal Shield Law Bills.

Recent Federal Reporter's Privilege Cases

Click here for other recent federal cases.

Historical Reporter's Privilege Case: Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665 (1972)

Decision, concurrances and dissents

Oral argument recording - oyez.com

Department of Justice Guidelines

Justice Department Guidelines for Media Subpoenas January 2015

Annual Report on Subpoenas to the Media August 2015


State Proceedings

Proposed State Shield Law Bills

Recent State Reporter's Privilege Cases

State Shield Law Statutes

Military Proceedings

U.S. v. Wuterich

US Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals (En Banc) - Aug. 31, 2009

Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces - Nov. 17, 2008

US Navy-Marine Corps Court of Criminal Appeals - June 20, 2008

See also: U.S. v. Maziarz - June 12, 2009

Other Resources

Articles, Reports and Panels on the Reporter's Privilege

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