2006 New York Code - Special Provisions Relating To Persons Employed By, Or Connected With, News Media.



 
    §  79-h.  Special  provisions  relating  to  persons  employed  by, or
  connected with, news media. (a) Definitions. As used  in  this  section,
  the following definitions shall apply:
    (1)  "Newspaper"  shall  mean  a paper that is printed and distributed
  ordinarily not less frequently than once a week, and has done so for  at
  least  one  year,  and  that  contains  news,  articles  of  opinion (as
  editorials), features, advertising,  or  other  matter  regarded  as  of
  current  interest, has a paid circulation and has been entered at United
  States post-office as second-class matter.
    (2) "Magazine" shall mean  a  publication  containing  news  which  is
  published and distributed periodically, and has done so for at least one
  year,  has  a  paid  circulation and has been entered at a United States
  post-office as second-class matter.
    (3) "News agency" shall mean a commercial organization  that  collects
  and  supplies news to subscribing newspapers, magazines, periodicals and
  news broadcasters.
    (4) "Press association" shall mean an association of newspapers and/or
  magazines formed to gather and distribute news to its members.
    (5) "Wire service" shall mean a news agency that sends out  syndicated
  news  copy  by wire to subscribing newspapers, magazines, periodicals or
  news broadcasters.
    (6)  "Professional  journalist"  shall  mean  one  who,  for  gain  or
  livelihood,  is  engaged  in  gathering, preparing, collecting, writing,
  editing, filming,  taping  or  photographing  of  news  intended  for  a
  newspaper,  magazine,  news agency, press association or wire service or
  other professional medium or agency which has  as  one  of  its  regular
  functions   the   processing   and  researching  of  news  intended  for
  dissemination to the public; such person  shall  be  someone  performing
  said  function  either  as  a  regular  employee  or  as  one  otherwise
  professionally affiliated for gain or livelihood  with  such  medium  of
  communication.
    (7)  "Newscaster"  shall mean a person who, for gain or livelihood, is
  engaged in analyzing, commenting on or broadcasting, news  by  radio  or
  television transmission.
    (8)  "News"  shall  mean  written,  oral,  pictorial, photographic, or
  electronically recorded information or communication  concerning  local,
  national  or  worldwide  events  or  other  matters of public concern or
  public interest or affecting the public welfare.
    (b)  Exemption  of  professional  journalists  and  newscasters   from
  contempt: Absolute protection for confidential news. Notwithstanding the
  provisions   of  any  general  or  specific  law  to  the  contrary,  no
  professional journalist or newscaster  presently  or  having  previously
  been employed or otherwise associated with any newspaper, magazine, news
  agency,   press   association,   wire   service,   radio  or  television
  transmission  station  or  network  or  other  professional  medium   of
  communicating  news  or  information  to the public shall be adjudged in
  contempt  by  any  court  in  connection  with  any  civil  or  criminal
  proceeding,  or by the legislature or other body having contempt powers,
  nor shall a grand jury seek to have a journalist or newscaster  held  in
  contempt  by any court, legislature or other body having contempt powers
  for refusing or failing to disclose any news  obtained  or  received  in
  confidence  or  the  identity of the source of any such news coming into
  such person's possession in the course of gathering  or  obtaining  news
  for  publication  or  to  be  published in a newspaper, magazine, or for
  broadcast by a radio or television transmission station  or  network  or
  for  public  dissemination  by  any  other professional medium or agency
  which has as one of its main functions the dissemination of news to  the
  public,  by  which  such  person is professionally employed or otherwise
  associated  in  a  news  gathering  capacity  notwithstanding  that  the
  material  or  identity  of a source of such material or related material
  gathered by a person described above  performing  a  function  described
  above is or is not highly relevant to a particular inquiry of government
  and  notwithstanding  that  the  information  was  not  solicited by the
  journalist or newscaster prior to disclosure to such person.
    (c)  Exemption  of  professional  journalists  and  newscasters   from
  contempt: Qualified protection for nonconfidential news. Notwithstanding
  the  provisions  of  any  general  or  specific  law to the contrary, no
  professional journalist or newscaster  presently  or  having  previously
  been employed or otherwise associated with any newspaper, magazine, news
  agency,   press   association,   wire   service,   radio  or  television
  transmission  station  or  network  or  other  professional  medium   of
  communicating  news  to  the public shall be adjudged in contempt by any
  court in connection with any civil or criminal  proceeding,  or  by  the
  legislature or other body having contempt powers, nor shall a grand jury
  seek  to  have a journalist or newscaster held in contempt by any court,
  legislature, or other  body  having  contempt  powers  for  refusing  or
  failing  to  disclose  any  unpublished  news  obtained or prepared by a
  journalist or newscaster in the course of gathering or obtaining news as
  provided in subdivision (b) of this section, or the source of  any  such
  news, where such news was not obtained or received in confidence, unless
  the  party  seeking such news has made a clear and specific showing that
  the news: (i) is highly material  and  relevant;  (ii)  is  critical  or
  necessary  to the maintenance of a party's claim, defense or proof of an
  issue material thereto; and (iii) is not obtainable from any alternative
  source. A  court  shall  order  disclosure  only  of  such  portion,  or
  portions, of the news sought as to which the above-described showing has
  been  made and shall support such order with clear and specific findings
  made after a hearing. The  provisions  of  this  subdivision  shall  not
  affect  the  availability, under appropriate circumstances, of sanctions
  under section thirty-one hundred twenty-six of the  civil  practice  law
  and rules.
    (d)  Any  information  obtained in violation of the provisions of this
  section shall be inadmissible in any action  or  proceeding  or  hearing
  before any agency.
    (e)  No  fine  or imprisonment may be imposed against a person for any
  refusal to disclose information privileged by  the  provisions  of  this
  section.
    (f)  The  privilege  contained  within  this  section  shall  apply to
  supervisory or employer third person or  organization  having  authority
  over the person described in this section.
    (g)  Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, a person entitled
  to claim the exemption provided under subdivision (b)  or  (c)  of  this
  section  waives  such  exemption if such person voluntarily discloses or
  consents  to  disclosure  of  the  specific  information  sought  to  be
  disclosed  to  any person not otherwise entitled to claim the exemptions
  provided by this section.

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