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Analysis - Essay Example

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In his article "You Can Blog but You Can't Hide" Eugene Volokh discusses the issue of a journalist's privilege and considers that if there are such privileges, how far should they extend and by whom, and concludes by stating that once determined then such privileges should be extended to all journalists.
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Download file to see previous pages By providing this scenario, he invokes a 'catch twenty-two' type situation in the mind of his reader and a sense of absurdity. He then further stimulates this sense of the bizarre by stating that in order "to punish the agent" (4), the government must first attain the name of the informant from the reporter and if the journalist chooses not to provide such information under privilege, the informant "may never be caught" (8). At this point, Volokh gains the interest of his reader, enough to induce him/her to read further.
Having gained the reader's attention, Volokh then moves from the hypothetical to reality by introducing the Plame Affair, an incident with which most readers would be familiar and would probably have views on, and a more recent incident in Providence, R.I where a reporter "was convicted of criminal contempt" (13) for not naming the person who "gave him a tape of a city official accepting a bribe" (14). By referring to these actual cases, the reader is more likely to agree with his questions: "Should there be a journalist's privilege What should its scope be And who exactly qualifies as a journalist" (16/17). In other words, he sets the scene and lays the groundwork first before moving to his real contention.
At this point in his article,...
nd that states are divided on the issue with some acknowledging a journalist's privilege to different degrees, while others "and the federal government" (27) are not. This inference of authority being in such disarray, and his poignant use of language, such as "a cryptic three-paragraph concurrence" (20), "should try to strike a proper balance" (23), and "the situation is a mess" (29), help to stimulate the reader's sense of helplessness and vulnerability.
Volokh then broadens his line of reasoning from discussion on whether there should be a journalist's privilege and its scope to who "qualifies as a journalist" (17), and further expounds the problem by raising the issue of the "hundreds of thousands" (31) of bloggers who write on the internet, "some of which come with a condition of confidentiality" (32/33). By appealing to the First Amendment once again, he asserts that "freedom of the press should apply to people equally" (35) including bloggers.
This however, creates another problem, suggests Volokh, because if "everyone is a journalist" (37) and these privileges are granted to everyone, the "mainstream journalists" (39) will suffer. Informants will be able to bypass any risk of reprisal by publishing through "a friend who has a blog and a political axe to grind" (40), rather than a conventional reporter, who "may turn him in" (39). "On the one hand" (43), he claims information from informants assist reporters to "uncover crime and misconduct" (44), and if the journalists had to disclose the names of their informants, the source of information would disappear. "On the other hand" (45), however, he claims that some information is "rightly made legal" (46).
The "best solution" (47) to this paradox, according to Volokh, may be to adopt the same laws ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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