by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
documentaries, journalism, movies, shield laws


Is A Documentary Investigative Reporting? Should Filmmakers Be Covered By Journalist Shield Laws?

from the seems-reasonable... dept

While there are still ongoing arguments over whether or not bloggers should be considered journalists when it comes to keeping their sources and source materials confidential, there's another arena impacted by all of this as well: documentary filmmakers. A judge has ordered a documentary filmmaker to turn over "cut" footage to Chevron from the filmmaker's documentary about Chevron's involvement in pollution of the rainforest in Ecuador. Chevron believes that there may be footage that will help it get a lawsuit filed against the company by Ecuadorians dismissed. While the filmmaker argued that the works were protected, the judge shot that down in saying that since there were no confidentiality agreements signed, that the material is not confidential. That seems like a rather broad ruling over whether or not a journalist can protect their sources. Do all journalists now need to sign confidentiality agreements with sources?

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  1. icon
    Rose M. Welch (profile), 12 May 2010 @ 1:34am

    If so, would their confidential names be on the confidential paperwork and how would that impact discovery in a lawsuit?

    What would happen to those written agreements when the journalist died?

    The safest place for the name of a source is in the mind of the journalist.

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