UC Law Journal


Judicial orders requiring journalists to disclose the identities of confidential sources in public figure defamation actions create a conflict between the evidentiary needs of a defamation plaintiff and the first amendment interest in the free flow of news. This Comment discusses the constitutional dimensions of the source disclosure issue and the potential chilling effect of disclosure orders on the exercise of first amendment freedoms. Following an examination of recent judicial efforts to address the source disclosure issue, the Comment recommends that there be greater protection for the constitutional interests in nondisclosure. The Comment concludes that this protection can be achieved through the adoption of standards requiring a public figure plaintiff to provide substantial evidence of both actual injury and success on the merits of the claim before disclosure can be ordered.

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