On her lawyers’ advice, Fox News reporter Jana Winter turned down an invitation to speak in person at the Colorado Press Association’s annual Capitol Hill luncheon in Denver. But that didn’t prevent her from using technology to implore state lawmakers to reconsider now-dead legislation that would have strengthened Colorado’s journalist shield law.
The Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition joined The Denver Post, The New York Times and several other media organizations in asking a judge to unseal court transcripts in the case against death-row inmate Sir Mario Owens.
Journalists in Colorado would have stronger, but not absolute, protections against being compelled to reveal confidential sources and unreported information under an amendment to a reporter’s shield measure proposed by the bill’s sponsor.
Give state Sen. Bernie Herpin of Colorado Springs credit for understanding not just the Second Amendment on guns, but also a critical component of our system of government: A free press, protected from undue influence from prosecutors and others in government, is necessary to act as a watchdog for our government.
State Sen. Bernie Herpin quoted 18th-century English judge William Blackstone in explaining his reasons for introducing a bill to strengthen the Colorado law that protects a journalist’s confidential sources.
HB 14-1047 would require that commercial websites remove a booking photo free of charge if the arrested person makes a request in writing and that person was not charged with a crime, charges were dropped or the person was acquitted.
Motivated by the ordeal of a Fox News reporter, who could have been jailed for refusing to reveal sources for a story on the Aurora movie theater gunman, Sen. Bernie Herpin says he wants to model Colorado’s press shield law after New York’s law.
Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos A. Samour, Jr. denies motion by James Holmes’ attorneys to seal transcripts of proceedings and remove access to pleadings from the court’s website. The CFOIC had opposed Holmes’s request.
Restricting access to court records in the Aurora movie theater shooting case would impair the public’s understanding of issues of national importance involving violence and mental health, the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press argues in a letter co-signed by the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.
Restricting public access to information in the Aurora movie theater shooting case would set a dangerous precedent and erode the public trust in our state’s judicial system.