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May 18th, 2009
09:39 AM ET

Judge says Alton Telegraph must disclose two who posted online

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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.

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