57th General Assembly Washington, DC October 12 – 16, 2001 UNITED STATES WHEREAS in these times of heightened concern for security in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, the strength of the United States remains its democratic principles, including specifically its informed citizenry WHEREAS national, state and local government institutions, beginning with the military, police and health authorities but even extending in some cases to non-security related officials, have sometimes imposed or coerced controls on information that go beyond justified security needs WHEREAS those controls limit a free press that is at the heart of the nation’s democratic strength, is guaranteed by the Constitution and is the tried and true route to maintaining an informed citizenry WHEREAS a number of national television networks, unlike most major national newspapers, acceded to government requests to impose self-censorship not just of understandable sensitive military information that could put the lives of Allied soldiers in danger, but also of otherwise openly available political tracts released by the enemy WHEREAS in a separate matter, the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York subpoenaed and obtained the telephone record of Associated Press reporter John Solomon without informing him or the Associated Press beforehand WHEREAS the action was a violation of established Department of Justice policy in which U.S. attorneys must exhaust all other investigative alternatives before seeking a subpoena of a journalist’s records and must give the journalist the opportunity to contest that subpoena WHEREAS freelance writer Vanessa Leggett since July 20 has been in jail in Texas for refusing to hand over to a grand jury confidential information she collected for a book she is writing on a murder case, and that jailing for contempt of court was upheld by a three-judge panel of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals WHEREAS Leggett is entitled to the qualified privilege recognized under the First Amendment by U.S. courts to protect the confidentiality of her sources and material, and that government attorneys did not prove that the information she is thought to have was absolutely necessary and unavailable by any other means for the murder case being prosecuted WHEREAS Principle 3 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states “The authorities must be compelled by law to make available in a timely and reasonable manner the information generated by the public sector. No journalist may be forced to reveal his or her sources of information” WHEREAS Principle 5 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states “Prior censorship, restrictions on the circulation of the media or dissemination of their reports, forced publication of information, the imposition of obstacles to the free flow of news, and restrictions on the activities and movements of journalists directly contradict freedom of the press” THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES to call on the national, state and local governments in the United States to refrain from coercion of the media and, within strictly defined limits of national security, to uphold American values and practices of free flow of information and free expression, both by citizens and the media to condemn the actions of the U.S. Attorney’s office in New York for the chilling effect it has on a free press and call on all federal district attorneys to uphold the Department of Justice guidelines to condemn the jailing of Vanessa Leggett and call on both the full Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Houston to recognize her qualified privilege as a journalist and free her.