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McGeorge Law Review

Abstract

Recent incidents of newsmen being imprisoned for refusing to disclose confidential news sources before courts and grand juries have focused attention on the conflict between the public need for evidence and the public interest in a free press, unhampered by governmental interference. The "newsman's privilege," i.e., a privilege to refuse to disclose a confidential news source, is the means for resolving this conflict. This comment examines the arguments for and against the need for a testimonial privilege, the existence and limits of common law and constitutional privileges, and the California statutory privilege afforded by Evidence Code Section 1070. The author concludes that, although there is no common law privilege, the first amendment provides protection in limited circumstances, and Section 1070, while vague in several respects, appears to provide an unconditional privilege for certain newsmen.

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