General Question

mayratapia_'s avatar

Is it important for a reporter to protect a name of a source?

Asked by mayratapia_ (368points) May 21st, 2010 from iPhone


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21 Answers

dpworkin's avatar

Critically important and insufficiently protected.

forgewolf's avatar

it is very important especially when your tackling a very sensitive issue. you don’t want to get your source killed because of you, don’t you?

JLeslie's avatar

It’s important to protect their name for many reasons. One reason is so he/she can continue to be an informant. Not to mention that people are more likely to come forward if they know they will be protected by journalists and the law.

lloydbird's avatar

Only if you want to live in a Democracy.

lilikoi's avatar

Because you’d like to continue getting info from said source.

Because you don’t want source to be assassinated for leaking info.

Etc etc etc.

flo's avatar

Yes it is of the utmost importance. Or else people would not come forward about anything.

missingbite's avatar

I’ll play devils advocate here and say there are some instances where the authorities may need to know the informants information. Very rare but if it can be proven that the authorities can gain valuable info that has not been disclosed by the reporter, and the authorities know the informant has the info, I can see where the informants info should be turned over.

Like I said it would be very very rare. I just think there are always exceptions to the rules.

AmWiser's avatar

I would think it very important that a reporter protected his source. If I were a source of information and did not trust a reporter, I wouldn’t give up any vital information.

skfinkel's avatar

Journalists have gone to jail rather than reveal the identity of their sources. It is clearly very important.

missingbite's avatar

If a reporter was called and told by a reliable source that their significant other had kidnapped a child and the child was still alive but then the source stopped talking out of fear or loyalty to their spouse. Do you think the source should be left alone and the child possibly die? Maybe this is not what we are calling a source but I do. I say the source should be turned into the police. Maybe I am way off base and I am welcome to someone showing me I’m wrong.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite So you think the reporter should give up the name of the source in that instance? Would you hold the reporter responsible for the death of the child if he won’t tell and the child is found dead later? The source could probably be charged as an accomplice or something, but do you think the reporter is one too?

I’m not sure how the laws work if a crime is in action. If a shrink or clergy has information about a crime that is taking or going to take place I believe by law they are required to break confidentiality.

john65pennington's avatar

To a certain degree, that the information protected does not contain criminal activity.

Police informants are similiar, but different, in that an informamts information is used for search warrants and criminal warrants in order to establish probable cause. i never devulged an informants name.

Rarebear's avatar

Only if the reporter wants to ever get another source.

jazmina88's avatar

Freedom of the press…...

to speak truth without question or danger, in most cases

roundsquare's avatar

If a reporter didn’t, most good sources would never come out. We’d lose all sorts of information.

mayratapia_'s avatar

@skfinkel, why would a reporter be put in jail? You see I’ve got this comic that shows a reporter in jail for NOT telling someone his source.

missingbite's avatar

@JLeslie You bring up a good point and I’m not sure how that would work. Just to clarify, I am in favor of protecting the identity of sources. I am just playing devils advocate and have a lot to learn in this area. GQ by the way. I guess it would depend on the case. I think Canada’s court just passed a law that stated some informants would have no protection and others would. Kind of a case by case matter, but I’m not sure how it would work.

I do think that saving a child’s life would be worth my career. I’m an airline pilot and to save a child I’d do almost anything.

JLeslie's avatar

@missingbite When I first saw thw original question I was thinking more in terms of government coverups, bad businessmen, doctors committing fraud, the example you gave with the kidnapped child seems more like something that would be leaked to the police by an informant.

missingbite's avatar

@JLeslie You are correct. Their are many aspects and I’m just not sure there should be a hard black and white answer. I know we need to protect the rights of sources.

Pupsdruese's avatar

Sometimes Liveimportant (Crime)
Greets pupsdruese

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