Monday, May 29, 2006

MBA News

MBA News
May 26, 2006
California Appeals Court Rules Bloggers Are Journalists

In what the EFF called a "major victory" for bloggers and citizen journalists, The Sixth Appellate Court of the Court of Appeal of the State of California rejected Apple Computer's attempt to force disclosure of sources by two blogs (AppleInsider and by ruling that bloggers and citizen journalists are entitled to the same legal protections as journalists working for corporate media entities. Specifically, the bloggers were entitled to protection under the California reporter's shield law.
The Media Bloggers Association filed an amicus brief supporting AppleInsider and with the Center for Internet & Society at Stanford University in April, 2005.
In it's unanimous ruling, Justice Conrad Rushing of the 6th District Court of Appeal wrote:
We decline the implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes "legitimate journalis[m]." The shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news, and that is what petitioners did here. We can think of no workable test or principle that would distinguish "legitimate" from "illegitimate" news. Any attempt by courts to draw such a distinction would imperil a fundamental purpose of the First Amendment, which is to identify the best, most important, and most valuable ideas not by any sociological or economic formula, rule of law, or process of government, but through the rough and tumble competition of the memetic marketplace.
"We are pleased that by ruling as it did, the California courts have discarded the obsolete notion that practicing journalism is somehow a function of 'sociological or economic formula'," said MBA President Robert Cox. "Bloggers who practice journalism are journalists. Period."

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