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How do the media pose security concerns to the courts?
The Court has generally rejected requests to extend to the press Privileges and Immunities beyond those available to ordinary citizens. In Branzburg v. Hayes, 408 U.S. 665, 92 S. Ct. 2646, 33 L. Ed. [ 2d 626 (1972), it held that a journalist's privilege to refuse to disclose information such as the names of informants is no broader than that enjoyed by any citizen. As long as an inquiry is
conducted in Good Faith, with relevant questions and no harassment, a journalist must cooperate. Justice Stewart's dissent in Branzburg urged the Court to find that a qualified journalistic privilege exists unless the government is able to show three things: (1) Probable Cause to believe that the journalist possesses information that is clearly relevant; (2) an inability to obtain the material by less intrusive means; and (3) a compelling interest that overrides First Amendment interests. In an unusual break with tradition, several circuit courts have applied Stewart's test and ruled in favor of journalists seeking special First Amendment protection. Nonetheless, the Supreme Court has steadfastly held to its decision in Branzburg, and shows no sign of retreating from its position that the First Amendment confers no special privileges on journalists. Laws that affect the ability of the press to gather and publish news are suspect, but not automatically unconstitutional. In Cohen v. Cowles Media Co., 501 U.S. 663, 111 S. Ct. 2513, 115 L. Ed. 2d 586 (1991), reporters for two Twin Cities newspapers were sued for breach of contract when they published the name of their source after promising confidentiality. The reporters claimed that the law infringed their First Amendment freedom to gather news unencumbered by state law. The Court held that the law did not unconstitutionally undermine their rights because its enforcement imposed only an incidental burden on their ability to gather and report information. Writing for the majority, Justice byron r. ]
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