February 22, 2017 — The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Oregon (ACLU of Oregon) filed a ‘friend-of-the-court’ brief today in support of the media’s right to be free from compelled testimony. The civil liberties group’s court filing outlined robust support for reporter John Sepulvado and Oregon Public Broadcasting in their attempt to quash a government subpoena to compel Sepulvado to testify as a witness in the government’s trial against the remaining Malheur Refuge occupiers, U.S. v. Patrick.
Charlie Hinkle, retired partner at Stoel Rives LLP and ACLU of Oregon cooperating attorney, had this comment:
“In a time when the news media are coming under increasing attack, it is more important than ever that the courts protect the independence of the media. Requiring journalists to function as an arm of the government in prosecuting crime threatens the independence of the media and inhibits their ability to gather the news.”
Mat dos Santos, ACLU of Oregon legal director, had this comment:
“When reporters are called into the courtroom against their will, it is a threat to the First Amendment. The freedom of the press plays a critical role in holding government and public institutions accountable, and in the free flow of information and ideas.”