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Cohen v. Cowles Media Co.


In a decision that jarred the American news media, the Court ruled that the First Amendment does not protect journalists from being sued, under general-application laws, by a confidential source when that source's identity is revealed without consent. This ruling troubled constitutional analysts as well as the general press. Legal scholars feared it paved the way for future weakening of First Amendment protections. Some media commentators foresaw unprecedented restrictions on the news-gathering process and editorial control. Although there is evidence that news organizations did not extensively alter their confidentiality policies and procedures after Cohen, many did reconsider them in its wake.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994Cohen v. Cowles Media Co. - Significance, The Sacred Trust Between Reporter And Source, The Press Is Subject To The Same Laws As All Citizens