Scrutiny of police activity has been a hot-button issue in recent years, and days, both nationally and locally. It goes without saying that law enforcement officials have an almost impossible job. With mass shootings an almost weekly occurrence and the unpredictability of violent crime, those who protect us face unimaginable obstacles.
Reporters sometimes get arrested or detained. (Or in the case of Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs covering a congressional election in Montana, “body-slammed.”) It seems whenever a big story breaks, a side issue of reining in reporters also pops up. Reporters have been harassed and arrested covering news including Hurricane Katrina, the Republican National Convention in 2008 and Occupy Wall Street.
For better or worse, Edward Snowden, WikiLeaks and the Sony hacking scandal have made headlines around the world by taking information in violation of the law and sharing it with the press. Importantly, journalists who reported on the information disclosed in those leaks have been shielded from extraordinary legal risk — and that is probably no accident.