August 16, 2005
Blanket Gag Opposed by Groups
A local rule proposed for the U. S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island, Proposed Local Rule 110, Disclosure of Non-Public Information, has drawn pointed opposition in comments jointly submitted on behalf of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, the New England Press Association, the Newspaper Association of America, the Radio-Television News Directors Association, and the E.W. Scripps Company. In an August 11, 2005, comment letter to the court clerk, the authors note that the proposed rule, which "would impose a gag order in every pending case on all trial participants and court employees," would limit the free flow of information and violate the free speech rights of those persons covered by the rule. Let's hope that the court--home, as you will recall of the contempt order that resulted in reporter Jim Taricani being sentenced to home confinement last year--heeds the well-taken points in the letter.