Reporter faces fines for protecting her sources for 2001 anthrax attack story

The Associated Press reports:

A former USA Today reporter facing fines for failing to reveal her sources for stories about the 2001 anthrax attacks said Saturday that news organizations need to go on the offensive in the fight to protect the First Amendment.

“As we all know, the news business is on a collective nervous breakdown,” Toni Locy told a coalition of open-government and press groups. “It’s time to stop running. It’s time to turn and fight. If we don’t fight for the First Amendment, who will?”

Locy, who now teaches journalism at West Virginia University, spoke at the annual convention of the National Freedom of Information Coalition.

She said the country needs a shield law that would protect reporters from having to reveal their sources.

“The First Amendment needs some help,” she said. “In this environment that we’re in now, it needs some help.”

Locy is appealing an order from U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton that requires her to pay as much as $5,000 a day until she gives up her sources for stories about the government’s investigation of the anthrax attacks.

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