Media coalition urges better protection of First Amendment rights in NSA, FISA court matters

From Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press: The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, joined by 36 other news media organizations, filed public comments calling on the president’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies to more carefully balance the secrecy sometimes required in national security investigations with the public’s right to know what its government is doing.

In response to a call from the Review Group to comment on how government can utilize technology to protect national security while protecting privacy and civil liberties, the Reporters Committee-led media coalition made several suggestions, including increased transparency in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (the FISA court) and the creation of a media advocate to oversee public interests in the secret court.

“We urge this Review Group to embrace a more transparent FISA process and help ensure that the FISA court does not interfere with protected newsgathering to the point that innocent and necessary communications with reporters are stifled,” the Reporters Committee letter stated. “The government needs to more vigorously protect the free flow of information and openness in the judicial process to ensure that its efforts to combat terrorism do not end up swallowing the nation’s commitment to First Amendment values.”


Joining the Reporters Committee on the Review Group letter were: ABC, Inc.; Advance Publications, Inc.; Allbritton Communications Company; ALM Media, LLC; American Society of News Editors; The Associated Press; Atlantic Media, Inc.; Bloomberg L.P.; Cable News Network, Inc.; California Newspaper Publishers Association; Courthouse News Service; Dow Jones & Company, Inc.; The E.W. Scripps Company; First Amendment Coalition; Fox News Network LLC; Gannett Co., Inc.; Hearst Corporation; Investigative Reporters and Editors; Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University; Journal Communications, Inc.; The McClatchy Company; Media Consortium; National Press Photographers Association; National Public Radio, Inc.; The New York Times Company; The New Yorker; Newspaper Association of America; North Jersey Media Group Inc.; POLITICO LLC; Radio Television Digital News Association; Reporters Without Borders; Reuters America LLC; The Seattle Times Company; Society of Professional Journalists; Tribune Company; and The Washington Post.

Visit Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press for more. Please also see an article from Poynter here.