Call on IFJ Unions to Express Solidarity with US Reporters Facing Jail

On 5 July 2005, the International Federation of Journalists sent out the following appeal to all its member unions:

Dear Colleagues,

The IFJ is asking all of its unions to send messages of support to journalists Judith Miller of the New York Times and Matthew Cooper of Time who have refused to reveal sources of information in a scandal over a leak from the White House that led to the naming of a CIA agent. Tomorrow (Wednesday) they face a judge who may send them to jail.

The leak was authorised it is believed because the husband of the agent contradicted claims about Iraqi access to uranium, a claim that President Bush used to justify the US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Judith Miller, a member of the Newspaper Guild-CWA, is being backed by her employer. The New York Times remains defiant despite court threats of heavy fines, but Time-Warner, the world’s second largest media conglomerate and proprietor of Matthew Cooper’s magazine have announced that they will defy the reporter’s wishes and hand over his notebooks to the courts.

Both reporters face sentencing on July 6th. IFJ unions are asked to send messages of support to Judith Miller, congratulating her on her stand, to the New York Times, to The Newspaper Guild and to Matthew Cooper.

Unions are asked to welcome the stand of the New York Times, Miller and Cooper in not giving way to financial and judicial pressure to betray protection of sources – a cardinal principle of ethical conduct.

The Newspaper Guild CWA is organising a nationwide show of solidarity on July 6th. All IFJ unions are asked to show their support at the same time.

These cases are the latest examples of increasing pressure on journalists in the United States where the Government of George Bush has shown increasing intolerance of independent journalism in recent years.

Although this case is looking at wrong-doing by the White House, it reveals how increasingly courts in the US are failing to recognise the press freedom implications of forcing journalists to reveal sources.

Please send your messages to:
Judith Miller at the New York Times:
Matthew Cooper at Time Magazine: mailto:[email protected]

The Editor at the New York Times: [email protected] or Fax: (212) 556-3622

Send copies of all messages to:
Linda Foley, President, The Newspaper Guild: Fax: (202)434-1472
Email: mailto:[email protected]

For more information see IFJ Press Release

Brussels, July 5th 2005