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Sample essay topic, essay writing: Branzburg Vs. Hayes - 1005 words
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.. t by the Branzburg vs. Hayes trial was the case of In re Pappas. Pappas was a reporter/photographer who worked for a New Bedford, MA television station. Pappas covered a Black Panther news conference, during one of his assignments for the television station.
The Black Panther party was previously found by the courts to be seditious, and that anyone who attended a meeting of this group was in direction violation of the law. Pappas was granted permission to attend the meeting, as long as he agreed not disclose anything he saw or heard. After the meeting Pappas didn't write a story nor did he disclose any information as he had promised the Black Panthers. Pappas was later summoned before a grand jury but he refused to answer any questions about events that took place inside Panther meeting. The court decided that even though Pappas had received the information in confidence while attending the conference, it did not give him the right to withhold information sought after during the Government's investigation
(5) The court stated the average American citizen is often forced to give information received in confidence when they testify in court, therefore it should be no different for reporters.Since the ruling of these cases, some states across country have provided reporters with some sort of statutory privileges. However most states, along with the Federal Government, have not granted any sort of privileges. The only testimonial privilege that is rooted firmly in the constitution is the Fifth Amendment that frees a person from self-incrimination. A person may be protected if the information they are asked for makes them look like they have committed a crime. (6) I personally support the courts decisions in these two similar cases.
I feel that the First Amendment should not protect a reporter's, or anyone for that matter, agreement of confidentiality, if the person in doing so, is concealing a crime of any sort. If the court had ruled that the First Amendment did indeed protect the rights of the reporters then it would show the American public that it is fine to write about a crime or criminal activity without disclosing certain crucial information that would incriminate anyone involved.In the Branzburg case, Branzburg witnessed and reported on a crime without revealing the identities of the people involved. I feel that Branzburg did not have a right to conceal the identifying information of the people involved in the drug-manufacturing ring from the public or the court. I feel this way for the simple reason that marijuana is illegal and in the eyes of the law posses a danger to the public. However, I do see where Branzburg was coming from and defiantly agree with some of his reasons for withholding the identities of the subjects published in his story. Branzburg's journalistic integrity was at stake and he knew that if he gave up the names he would never be able to gain access to information and stories that provoked thought and opinions amongst the public.
I have to say that I agreed with Supreme Courts dissenting opinion that the public's safety was at stake as well as Branzburg's Journalism career. The court after all did have probable cause to retain the identities of the individuals featured in Branzburg's article due to the amount of incriminating information the article contained. The court desperately needed the information to combat the out of control drug problem plaguing the country at the time. I feel the court had no other means of gaining the information about the two individuals, so Branzburg was the only key to solving the crime. The government did indeed have a powerful enough reason for seeking the information, due to the fact that the public was in danger. I feel the court should protect the safety and careers of reporters if placed into a situation like Brazenburg or Pappas.
The court must allow people to disclose information in secrecy so they are in no danger from repercussions for lying to their subjects on protecting their identities. If Branzburg or Pappas were forced by the courts to reveal information without the promise of secrecy then their personal safety would be in jeopardy as members of the either the drug dealing community or Black Panthers could have inflicted violence against the reporters, possibly resulting in death. To sum up, I totally support the way the court handled these cases. The court's decisions were in the best interests of everyone involved. I think anyone involved in any form of Media Communication should be well informed of the State and Federal laws regarding agreements of secrecy with their subjects.
Reporters should be especially conscious of the repercussions of publishing a story that involves any sort of criminal behavior. In the case of Branzburg vs Hayes, Branzburg should have been more aware of what he was actually reporting on and the legal repercussions that could have possibly ensued as a result of the story being published. He had to know that what he was doing was wrong and that the law would eventually find him and force him to disclose the individual's identities. I think his motives behind writing the story were to produce a thought provoking article that revealed the under ground operation of the drug manufacturing community. He wanted to shakes things up and report on something that was controversial and intriguing, however in the end he became a rat.Works Cited1.) Kentucky Reporters' Privilege Statute, KY.
REV. STAT. SEC. 421.100 (1962), http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?c ourt=us&vol=408&invol=665Section I, paragraph 2.2.) http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?c ourt=us&vol=408&invol=665Section I, paragraph 2.3.) http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?c ourt=us&vol=408&invol=665Section 2 Paragraph 14.) http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?c ourt=us&vol=408&invol=665Section 2, paragraph 25.) In re Pappas - 408 U.S. 665 (1972) - Docket Number: 70-94http://www.oyez.org/oyez/resource/case/870/6. ) U.S.
Constitution: Fifth AmendmentFifth Amendment - Rights of Personhttp://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/data/constitut ion/amendment05/.
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