Times Online – Crushing freedom’s voice, by William Rees-Mogg<br/> US prosecutors are blackmailing the press and perverting the Constitution in pursuit of Lewis Libby

A FREE PRESS is the guarantee of everybody’s freedom; the confidentiality of its information is the condition of a free press, and of its ability to report the real world. This has been the basic principle of Times journalism for 220 years, and it is the basis of free journalism throughout the world. I cannot recall a single case in which The Times or any member of its staff has been accused of breaking the principle of confidentiality. Our first proprietor, the first John Walter, edited the paper from the Fleet Prison in the reign of King George III rather than reveal his sources. It has been so ever since. Since 1791, only six years after the foundation of The Times, the principle of press freedom, which did not exist in English law before the passage of Human Rights Act of 1998, has been supported by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States…

Mr Fitzgerald issued subpoenas to a number of journalists, including one to Judith Miller, a journalist on The New York Times. He required her to give evidence to a grand jury disclosing information given her in confidence by Lewis Libby, the Vice-President’s chief of staff. Mr Libby, and other officials, gave a waiver releasing journalists from their confidentiality obligations, and on that basis several of them, probably wrongly, agreed to give evidence. Ms Miller courageously refused…

Ms Miller was imprisoned for 85 days, a thoroughly unpleasant experience; after that she did testify.

Sooo: Aren’t we great for having our journalists sit in jail rather than reveal their sources, and isn’t the US horrible for making its journalists sit in jail rather than reveal their sources?