Journalism Under Fire - Protecting the Future of Investigative Reporting
Publisher: Columbia University Press
A healthy democracy requires vigorous, uncompromising investigative journalism. But today the free press faces a daunting set of challenges: in the face of harsh criticism from powerful politicians and the threat of lawsuits from wealthy individuals, media institutions are confronted by an uncertain financial future and stymied by a judicial philosophy that takes a narrow view of the protections that the Constitution affords reporters. In Journalism Under Fire, Stephen Gillers proposes a bold set of legal and policy changes that can overcome these obstacles to protect and support the work of journalists.
Gillers argues that law and public policy must strengthen the freedom of the press, including protection for news gathering and confidential sources. He analyzes the First Amendment’s Press Clause, drawing on older Supreme Court cases and recent dissenting opinions to argue for greater press freedom than the Supreme Court is today willing to recognize. Beyond the First Amendment, Journalism Under Fire advocates policies that facilitate and support the free press as a public good. Gillers proposes legislation to create a publicly funded National Endowment for Investigative Reporting, modeled on the national endowments for the arts and for the humanities; improvements to the Freedom of Information Act; and a national anti-SLAPP law, a statute to protect media organizations from frivolous lawsuits, to help journalists and the press defend themselves in court. Gillers weaves together questions of journalistic practice, law, and policy into a program that can ensure a future for investigative reporting and its role in our democracy.