Roberts/Alito Court Bad for Bloggers?

February 23rd, 2007 by Zach Rodgers

Video blogger Josh Wolf last week set a record, becoming the journalist to be kept behind bars in a U.S. prison the longest for declining to surrender information or materials related to a court case.

His lawyer, Martin Garbus, spoke with On The Media’s Bob Garfield about his client’s situation and its broader implication for blogger shield laws and the rights of self-styled or Web-enabled reporters.

Listen to the segment here. From the transcript:

BOB GARFIELD: You’ve just written a book about the Supreme Court with the Bush appointees. I gather you think that the Josh Wolf case bodes ominously for the kind of decisions that this court will be handing down.

MARTIN GARBUS: Yes. I think the Roberts/Alito Supreme Court will even further narrow the rights that journalists have. When they do the balancing as to whether or not you should strip a privilege because of the weight of the crime, I think they’re going to balance it very, very badly against journalists.

I think also when it comes to putting somebody in jail, they’re going to view very badly towards journalists. Thirdly, the whole question of a blogger -I think they will not at this time find bloggers, internet people, etc., who are journalists to be journalists.

As an aside, what’s wonderful about this segment is it doesn’t rehash the dreary debate over whether bloggers can be considered journalists. It begins and ends with the precept that they are.

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