Sunday, December 12, 2004

TV reporter gets six-month home confinement sentence

Flashback: Taricani Statements - Nov. 18, Dec. 1
November 18:

When I became a reporter 30 years ago, I never imagined that I would be put on trial and face the prospect of going to jail simply for doing my job. Today, I was tried and convicted for refusing to identify the confidential source who gave me a videotape showing corruption in City Hall. On Dec. 9, I will be sentenced, possibly to jail.

The government has used its resources and power and the threat of jail to try to coerce me to identify a confidential source. This assault on journalistic freedom exacts a high price by stifling the flow of newsworthy information to reporters and to the public. I wish all of my sources could be on the record, but when people are afraid, a promise of confidentiality may be the only way to get the information to the public, and in some cases, to protect the well-being of the source. I made a promise to my source, which I intend to keep. Although I am willing to go to jail, I think it is wrong that journalists should face this type of threat simply for doing their jobs.
December 12, 2004
The Associated Press

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – A TV reporter who defied a court order to identify the source of a secret FBI videotape will spend the next six months in home confinement, serving a sentence a federal judge says will "mirror as close as possible" prison conditions.

Jim Taricani, 55, was sentenced Thursday, three weeks after he was found guilty of criminal contempt for refusing to say who gave him the FBI tape, part of a federal investigation into municipal corruption in Providence.

U.S. District Judge Ernest Torres told Taricani that he would have sent him to prison had it not been for his fragile medical condition: Taricani had a heart transplant in 1996 and takes medication daily to prevent organ rejection.

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