United States

WHEREAS the United States government in 2012 secretly seized the records of 21 telephone lines of the Associated Press, in violation of the First Amendment of the U.S. constitution WHEREAS this seizure without advance notice violated the Department of Justice’s own rules about press subpoenas WHEREAS the subpoena was executed without judicial review WHEREAS this overreaching action by the U.S. government has had a chilling effect on an open and vigorous pursuit of journalism in the public interest WHEREAS the Associated Press and other U.S. media organizations pressed the federal government to update and improve its guidelines ensuring stronger protections for journalists WHEREAS the Department of Justice subsequently reviewed and proposed updated guidelines that call for advance notice of a subpoena to be given to the media in all but rare circumstances, which is critical in enabling the press to challenge subpoenas in court; adding additional safeguards around seizure of press source material and applying them to all forms of communication including e-mail and text messages; and ensuring that journalists are not prosecuted for doing their jobs WHEREAS the Obama administration further recommended congressional passage of a federal Shield Law protecting journalists WHEREAS Principle 2 of the Declaration of Chapultepec states: “Every person has the right to seek and receive information, express opinions and disseminate them freely. No one may restrict or deny these rights.” 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.” THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE IAPA RESOLVES To encourage the U.S. Department of Justice to vigorously adopt and comply with the updated guidelines recommended in 2013 To call on the U.S. Senate and House to pass legislation including a robust shield law that protects journalists.