A STATEMENT FROM THE BOARD OF THE ILLINOIS NEWS BROADCASTERS ASSOCIATION RELATIVE TO REPORTER JOE HOSEY
The Illinois News Broadcasters Association is indignant that Will County Judge Gerald Kinney would jail reporter Joseph Hosey for exercising his First Amendment rights.
The $300 a day fine ordered by Judge Kinney is confiscatory. The threat of an indefinite jail sentence, one that could run beyond the end of the murder trial in question, is outrageous. It is clearly a slap at the First Amendment, an impediment to the ability of every reporter in the state of Illinois to do his his/her job and a threat to the people’s right to know.
We are equally angered that defense attorney Chuck Bretz says that no “legitimate” journalist need feel threatened by Judge Kinney’s order. On the contrary, we are concerned. Very concerned.
As INBA has said in the past, reporters are not agents of the government and INBA does not take lightly demands that reporters turn over their notes and/or reveal sources. Every such order makes it less and less likely that sincere and well-meaning individuals will bring wrongdoing, malfeasance and corruption to light unless it suits the whims of those in power. That is not what the Founding Fathers intended when framing the First Amendment and not what the General Assembly intended when it enacted the Reporters Privilege Act, the laws that we believe shield Hosey and will ultimately prevail in court.
Joe Hosey is a reporter doing his job in the finest traditions of American journalism. We urge the Illinois Appellate Court to vacate Judge Kinney’s order and allow Hosey – and reporters across Illinois – to do their jobs without the threat of jail and fines.
About INBA: The Illinois News Broadcasters Association is a statewide organization, founded in 1955, of roughly 200 electronic journalists, journalism educators, journalism students and supporters