Department of Justice

Justice Department Announces New Legal Protections for Journalists

By Hadley Baker, Katherine Pompilio
Wednesday, October 26, 2022, 4:35 PM

On Oct. 26, Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the Justice Department’s revised news media policy expanding legal protections for journalists. The new regulations codified a policy—announced by the attorney general in July 2021—prohibiting the use of compulsory legal process—the use of subpoenas, search warrants, court orders, and other investigatory practices—against “newsgathering” individuals who possess and/or publish classified information. 

In the revised regulations, the department notes that:

[b]ecause freedom of the press can be no broader than the freedom of members of the news media to investigate and report the news, the Department's policy is intended to provide protection to members of the news media from certain law enforcement tools and actions, whether criminal or civil, that might unreasonably impair newsgathering.

Following the announcement, the Criminal Division’s Operation of Enforcement Operations will “provide comprehensive training” regarding the policy’s “substance, standards, approval levels, and consultation requirements,” according to Garland. 

You can read the Oct. 26 memorandum here and the revised regulations here, or below: