May 18th, 2009
09:39 AM ET

Judge says Alton Telegraph must disclose two who posted online

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/13/art.generic.crime.policetape.jpg]

Robert Kelly
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Alton Telegraph must provide authorities with the identities of two people who put comments about a murder investigation on the newspaper's website, a judge ruled Friday.

But Madison County Circuit Judge Richard Tognarelli, said the names of three others who posted comments need not be disclosed because what they wrote appears to be irrelevant.

The paper sued to quash subpoenas for the information, contending the identities of the five people were protected by an Illinois law shielding journalists from disclosing their sources.

Tognarelli wrote that the law "does not address the applicability of the Act to online bloggers." He said that is up to the Legislature.

Officials contended that posting comments on a newspaper website does not make someone a news source.

Missouri has no equivalent law.


Filed under: 360º Follow • Crime & Punishment • Snitching
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. earle,florida

    Is this a form of snitching ,so one doesn't get killed if,and when found out if done publicly? Why would the courts be up in arms about free speech. It can'be used as evidence,nor can it influence the outcome! Perhaps it's defamation of character,whatever, it should be up to the newspaper monitoring staff to figure it out. What's amazing to me,is that it has nothing to do with the editorial view of the newspaper,but just a public forum of free speech that reach to far,...so to say?

    May 19, 2009 at 9:04 am |
  2. GF, Los Angeles

    I agree blogging does not make those people "news sources" to be protected. They put information on there that's relevant to the case, they should answer for it.

    May 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm |
  3. Jeanette

    Why would anyone not want to help the police catch the murderer of a 5 year old child if they knew anything at all?? What is the world coming to when people would rather conceal a murderer than try to get him or her off the streets.

    We really need to get back to the basics of life and the difference between right and wrong. I guess because people are so afraid of retribution they keep quiet, however, online it would be hard for someone to find out who you are and come after you.

    May 18, 2009 at 1:36 pm |
  4. Rick

    Well, we all knew this was coming.
    The end of "the trolls?"

    May 18, 2009 at 1:00 pm |