US journalists face jail over doping sources

Would you risk a jail sentence to protect your sources on a story?

The Balco doping scandal looks set to claim its latest, biggest victims: the two journalists who broke the story, by gleaning inside information of an FBI investigation.

Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams, of the San Francisco Chronicle, now face a spell in jail after refusing to reveal the source (or sources) of their stories from inside a US Grand Jury which helped them to implicate baseball slugger Barry Bonds, world’s fastest man Tim Montgomery, and multiple Olympic medallist Marion Jones in one of the biggest doping rings of all time.

While this is hardly comparable to the journalists who have lost their lives in trying to cover the wars in Lebanon, Iraq or Afghanistan, Fainaru-Wada (on the right in the picture) and Williams’ protection of their sources is a demonstration of courage by a couple of colleagues which is deserving of our support.

Read the Chronicle‘s editorial on the subject here.

Read an American journalism site’s take on the story here.

Click here for an alternative view of the Chronicle‘s Balco exclusives.

Read the SJA site’s guide to the latest drugs in sport stories here.

And given the Guardian‘s own poor record when it has come to protecting its sources when under court pressure from government (remember Sarah Tisdall and Peter Preston? Click here for a reminder), you are forced to assume that Lawrence Donegan’s article here is written without any intended irony.

Post your comments on the SF Chronicle case by clicking on the Comment button here.