A reporter in Providence, Rhode Island this week joined the ranks of reporters facing jail time for refusing to disclose a confidential source. Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press executive director Lucy Dalglish weighs in on what it portends for the health of American journalism.
BROOKE GLADSTONE: This is On the Media. I'm BROOKE GLADSTONE.
BOB GARFIELD: And I'm Bob Garfield. We have an update from the "journalists facing jail time file." Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matt Cooper of Time magazine await an appeal of contempt charges stemming from their refusal to name the White House official who leaked the identity of CIA officer Valerie Plame. The cases have been combined, and a hearing is scheduled for December 8th. Meanwhile, Jim Taricani moved one step closer to the clink. An investigative reporter from Channel 10 News in Providence, Rhode Island, Taricani refused to name the source of a videotape that showed a city official taking a bribe. We spoke with Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporter's Committee for Freedom of the Press, about the case.
LUCY DALGLISH: They asked Taricani, finally, "who gave you this tape?" He said "I'm not going to tell you." So, last summer, he was cited with civil contempt and fined a thousand dollars a day. Then, a couple of weeks ago, there was a status hearing in the case, and Judge Torres from Providence brought him in and said "I've forced you to pay a fine. It's obviously not compelled you or induced you to testify. I don't want to send you to jail, because you've had a heart transplant, and you have a pacemaker. But, you know, things have gone too far. Enough is enough. And you will be tried for criminal contempt."
BOB GARFIELD: After Taricani was convicted Thursday, Channel 10 News issued a statement saying "No reporter should have to pay such a terribly high price for honestly and legally reporting the news." His sentencing is scheduled for December 9th. He's expected to receive a six month jail term. And the beat goes on. [MUSIC]