National Press Club

Press Club continues fight for government transparency, First Amendment protections

September 12, 2013 | By Charles Tobin |

The National Press Club, along with dozens of other nonprofit journalism organizations and media companies, has urged courts and federal agencies in the last few weeks to safeguard maximum transparency for government operations and strong First Amendment protections for journalists.

The Club has joined a series of "friend of the court" briefs and letters:

  • Urging the United States Supreme Court, in Johnson v. New York, to review a case challenging the routine closure of courtrooms in New York when undercover officers testify in "buy-and-bust" cases.
  • Asking the Supreme Court to overturn a verdict, in Air Wisconsin v. Hoeper, awarding a pilot $1.4 million in defamation damages without requiring him to prove that an airline's statement about him was false in any way.
  • Arguing to the New York Court of Appeals, in Holmes v. Winter, that a Fox News reporter should receive the benefits of the New York Shield Law and not be forced to testify in a Colorado leaks investigation involving mass-shooting suspect James Holmes.
  • Demonstrating to a federal court in New York, in ACLU v. Clapper, that the National Security Agency's massive harvesting of phone records threatens the ability of journalists to gather news and protect confidential sources.
  • Advocating that the Department of Health and Human Services, in its upcoming regulatory overhaul of Medicare record keeping, provide for maximum public access to information about Medicare physicians' online payments.

"It's cases like this that can set the precedent for how the news media does its job in years to come. It's important that the Press Club lend its voice to this fight," said National Press Club President Angela Greiling Keane.