DOJ Revises Its News Media Policy


WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland has announced “significant revisions” to the Justice Department’s regulations regarding obtaining information from, or records of, members of the news media.

The regulations, among other things, codify the policy announced by the Attorney General in his memorandum on July 19, 2021, pursuant to which seeking compulsory legal process for the purpose of obtaining information from, or records of, members of the news media acting within the scope of newsgathering is prohibited except under limited, specified circumstances.

“These regulations recognize the crucial role that a free and independent press plays in our democracy,” Garland said. “Because freedom of the press requires that members of the news media have the freedom to investigate and report the news, the new regulations are intended to provide enhanced protection to members of the news media from certain law enforcement tools and actions that might unreasonably impair newsgathering.”

Deputy AG Lisa Monaco added, “This revised policy is the result of a rigorous, year-long review process informed by multiple perspectives. The discussions and input received from internal and external stakeholders, including federal prosecutors and media representatives, were vital to shaping the final policy.”

The “significant revisions” were warmly welcomed by NAB President/CEO Curtis LeGeyt. “NAB strongly supports the codification of new rules safeguarding journalists’ right to report the news without the threat of government interference,” he said. “The use of confidential sources is pivotal to a free press’s responsibility to expose corruption, protect our democracy, ensure accountability and shine a light on the truth. Broadcasters appreciate Attorney General Garland for taking this important step, and we urge Congress to pass a federal shield law that would create long-lasting protections for a free and open press.”

The Attorney General’s memorandum announcing the revisions can be found here.
The revised regulations can be found here.