Fining (and maybe jailing) messengers

The prosecution/persecution of American journalist Toni Locy, reported in the New York Times in a story excerpted below, highlights the need for shield laws for journalists and how authorities are figuratively shooting the messengers.

WASHINGTON — A federal judge found a former reporter for USA Today in contempt of court on Tuesday for refusing to name her confidential sources who had discussed a former Army scientist’s possible role in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

The reporter, Toni Locy, now faces fines of up to $5,000 a day for refusing to comply with an earlier order issued by the judge, Reggie B. Walton. Judge Walton said he would decide in coming days whether a second former reporter, Jim Stewart, should also be held in contempt of court for refusing to reveal the sources for his accounts on the anthrax inquiry, broadcast on CBS News.