It’s a good day for journalists. In a 4-3 decision, New York’s Court of Appeals has ruled that Jana Winter, a Fox News reporter, cannot be forced to reveal her sources for story on the Aurora, Colorado shooting.
After the tragedy, Winter had broke a story that the murderer — James Holmes — had sent a notebook to a University of Colorado psychiatrist that was “full of details about how he was going to kill people.” Lawyers for Holmes wanted Winter to testify about her confidential sources because they said it violated a gag order on the case. Winter’s lawyers claimed that New York’s shield laws should prevent Winter from having to speak up. They were right.
“Confidential newsgathering is essential for investigative journalism to flourish, and the New York Court of Appeals has issued a broad decision protecting all New York-based journalists,” said Dori Ann Hanswirth, the lead lawyer on Winter’s team. “Today’s victory is as much for Jana Winter as it is for all journalists and the public, which has a right to receive news from confidential sources.”
Below is a statement from Roger Ailes.
Today’s ruling is a major win for all journalists. The protection of Jana Winter’s confidential sources was necessary for the survival of journalism and democracy as a whole. We are very grateful that the highest court in New York State agreed with our position.