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Human rights groups can protect sources: US court

[JURIST] The US District Court for the Eastern District of New York [official website] has ruled that human rights organizations possess the same right to protect sources when reporting on human rights abuses as traditional journalists. Magistrate Viktor Pohorelsky [official profile] found on Tuesday that Amnesty International [advocacy website] was not required to reveal the names of lawyers that the group quoted anonymously in a 2002 report that expressed concerns that meetings between lawyers and their clients were being secretly videotaped at a New York City federal jail. Lawyers for Amnesty praised the decision, saying that it affirmed the group's belief that it should be afforded similar freedoms because "Amnesty is part of the press in terms of gathering information and disseminating it."

The issue stems from a 2004 suit brought by Lawyers for Legal Aid against administrators at the jail for allegedly ordering or sanctioning the recording of meetings between prisoners arrested in the wake of the September 11 attacks and their lawyers. That case has yet to be decided. Reuters has more. AP has additional coverage.

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