The US justice department said on Saturday it no longer will secretly obtain reporters’ records during leak investigations; a policy shift that abandons a practice decried by news organisations and press freedom groups.
The reversal follows a pledge last month by President Joe Biden; who said it was “simply, simply wrong” to seize journalists’ records and that he would not permit the justice department to continue the practice.
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Democratic and Republican administrations have used subpoenas and court orders to obtain journalists’; records in an effort to identify sources who reveal classified information.
But the practice had received renewed scrutiny over the past month; as justice department officials alerted reporters at The Washington Post; CNN and The New York Times – that their phone records had been obtained in the final year of the Trump administration.