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US to stop seizing reporters' records in leak investigations - BBC

07.06.2021, 13:20
Ukrinform
Ukrinform

The US Department of Justice (DoJ) has said it is ending a long-standing practice of secretly obtaining reporters' records during investigations into the leaking of classified information, as BBC reported.

It happened under both Republican and Democratic administrations.

But the use of subpoenas and court orders to obtain journalists' records came under growing scrutiny this year.

Democratic President Joe Biden has described the practise as "wrong".

In the past few weeks it emerged that DoJ officials had secretly obtained phone and email records from journalists at several news organisations during the administration of Republican President Donald Trump - among them The Washington Post and CNN - and continued doing so in the early days of the Biden administration.

Executives at the New York Times were also barred from revealing details of a secret court battle over emails relating to four of its reporters - under the terms of a "gag order".

Now the DoJ has confirmed that it is bringing to an end a practice that endured under multiple presidential administrations.

"DoJ has now completed a review to determine all instances in which the Department had pending compulsory requests from reporters in leak investigations," DoJ spokesman Anthony Coley said.

"Going forward, consistent with the President's direction, this Department of Justice - in a change to its longstanding practice - will not seek compulsory legal process in leak investigations to obtain source information from members of the news media doing their jobs."

According to CNN, despite Saturday's announcement, formal guidelines at the DoJ have not changed, meaning the practice could be reinstated under another administration.

BBC

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