Citizen Journalists win against Apple, Bahrain MoI are you listening?

27 May, '06

Briefly, Apple was pissed off with a site scooping it and releasing information it deemed still confidential, so they went after the guy who published the news and he didn’t budge, and in their infinite wisdom Apple thought they’d bring out their 4-pound hammers to force it out of the webmaster telling the court that (to the effect) as he’s not registered with the Ministry of Information he should not enjoy “real” journalist privileges, so he should tell them who the leaker was.

The court brought out its verdict last week telling Apple to, well, stuff it!

This is a huge win (in the States) for online forums, bloggers and citizen journalists. I’m not holding my breath for courts in Bahrain to be this partial to us, nor do I have any trust for the Ministry of Information that it will retool itself to be the protector of freedoms of speech and be a catalyst that would propel writers and journalists to excel in their jobs. But this event is certainly something that the powers that be should keep very much in mind.

A state appeals court on Friday rejected Apple Computer Inc.’s bid to identify the sources of leaked product information that appeared on Web sites, ruling that online reporters and bloggers are entitled to the same protections as traditional journalists.

“In no relevant respect do they appear to differ from a reporter or editor for a traditional business-oriented periodical who solicits or otherwise comes into possession of confidential internal information about a company,” Justice Conrad Rushing of the 6th District Court of Appeal wrote in a unanimous 69-page ruling.

“We decline the implicit invitation to embroil ourselves in questions of what constitutes ‘legitimate journalism,” he wrote. “The shield law is intended to protect the gathering and dissemination of news, and that is what petitioners did here.”

The online journalists are thus entitled to the protections provided under California’s shield law as well as the privacy protections for e-mails allowed under federal law, the court ruled.
AP
Hat tip: BuzzMachine

Filed in: Technology
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Comments (11)

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  1. MoClippa says:

    Thats great, congrats to U.S. bloggers on this victory!

    I think this legislation works as long as the blogging community continues to moderate itself… not to say we should have a heirarchy, but as long as people keep supporting legitimate sites and are able to dessiminate between those and the others that publish pure slanderous lies, rumors and other stuff with no basis on a daily basisl

    Its a victory that will easily pale if any blog publishing lies and getting significant attention causes any sort of future media fiasco… then they are going to easily be able to justify forcing blogs to pull sources.

    All I’m saying is we should be weary, careful and vocal when we see crap out there… remember we are laying out the groundwork for something thats going to continue well into the the futures of our children and childrens children… lets not let others spoill the soup for the rest

  2. mahmood says:

    I’m not sure I agree with you completely MoClippa, sometimes truth IS rude and it needs to rock the boat to get the message through. If what you mean is respecting the status quo, then truth is sometimes disrespectful.

    However, I agree with you that there needs to be a uniform code of ethics which bloggers – especially newsy/opinion blogs – should strive to maintain.

  3. MoClippa says:

    Nope mahmood, I’m totally with you on the truth. I wasn’t talking about disrespecting the status quo… actually I’m all for pushing its limits… rather I’m talking about a hypothetical situation in which a blogger may publish pure lies. if one of these said lies were to turn into a media fiasco, and the blogger was forced to pull sources and them turn out all to be fabricated… that would have a disastorous impact on legislation like this.

    I think citizen journalisim is a definate oppurtinity to push the status quo, I love it, thats why I’m a part of the blogsphere! I just dont want someone who fabricates his information getting popular to the point where it threatens my confidentiality and integrity as a blogger. My statement was all about the code of ethics and nothing else! All I’m saying is that we as bloggers should look out for people who are totally unethical in fabricating reports and pretending they are real… If you are going to belive something you read on a blog, that should only happen if you trust the bloggers truthfulness, if not then be weary about what you read, and do your best to check for yourself before taking it as a fact.

  4. Jonathan says:

    Well, you’re not alone. When reading the court decision i was extatic, however, i realized that never would i be able to have the same rights, even in israel, since nor does the media has immunity from disclosing sources nor does free media associate here. we do have problems, and usually, having a ministry of information means that information is regulated.

    Anyways, i just started reading this blog, I’ll add it to my RSS reader. it seems interesting.

    J.

  5. Ingrid says:

    Mahmoud, I think that most people who’ve gone online for their alternative news sources are already the more discriminate types who will dissect anything they read, newspapers or blogs alike. I think that because blogs tend to be someone’s opportunity to write opinion pieces based on particular news items that they link to, that on the whole, it is much easier to see where someone is coming from.
    In the editorial section in American newspapers, I have found that guest pieces are written by particular people who have their particular interest that they push, be it a CEO of a company, a professor from a university or someone from some political think tank or other non profit organization. Always ALWAYS see who your source of (dis/mis) information is.
    I don’t think that this ruling will give bloggers necessarily the status of ‘citizen journalists’..I think their readers will do so.
    I don’t think there has to be a concern with ethics etc online because I think the readers are so active in online commentaries and discussions , that you cannot fool a lot of people with bogus stories. As any of you might have noticed when reading the comment section..people have their own sources they freely share. In a way, this is an instant feedback kind of environment and any blogger worth his salt better never dream of trying to misinform because he’ll/she’ll be blogging oh sole tio/tia in the blogosphere.
    Ingrid

  6. Bahrainona says:

    Bahrain democracy video:

  7. Anonymous says:

    Yawn. I am SO glad that the United States does NOT have a Ministry of Control…I mean information. Perhaps this is something ya’ll should take up with your KING (and his ilk).

    And now that I think of it, I am certainly glad that the United States does NOT have a king either. Besides, kings tend to be sycophantic sex perverts who want their picture plastered all over the place so ya’ll can look at him while driving around town and then reflect on how happy you are to be able to submit to his oppressive bullshit.

  8. mahmood says:

    interesting… no substance, but interesting nonetheless.

  9. MoClippa says:

    ^_^ — Oh my, these anons are quite the talkers… sycophantic sex pervert… how’d you come up with that one? Boggled

  10. Loki says:

    I am not sure protecting a web site that willfully published confidential material that was appropriated through breach of contract is a great example of freedom of speach. Though suing a webiste that attracts alot of your supporters is obviously a bit of bonehead approach to start with.

    This isn’t exactly Judith Miller material.

  11. Sadek says:

    Bahrainona – clever video, but the pictures of the riot police, was that not at the Dana Mall ? Perhaps you can remind us why that riot occured a few months ago. Was it not to support some hooligans that decided to riot at the airport and were arrested?

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