It’s been a hard month for reporters here in the Net Patrol. First Rachel Buchman loses her job as a reporter at WHYY for threatening a spammer, then Brian McWilliams infiltrates a Rolex knock-off spam ring, and now television news reporter Jim Taricani is sentenced to six months of house arrest for contempt of court, for refusing to reveal the source of a videotape which shows acts of political corruption taking place.
First amendment issues aside, what is so striking about this case is that while Taricani is sitting at home doing his house arrest time, he has been forbade from accessing the Internet!
The judge had mandated house arrest only because, he said, of Taricani’s serious health problems (no indication as to what those problems may be – clearly lack of a spine was not one of them however). The judge’s reasoning with respect to the “no Internet” order was that inmates in the prison are not allowed access to the Internet, so neither should be Taricani.
Come to think of it, forget the First Amendment (not, perhaps, unlike this judge). Aunty thinks that this constitutes a violation of the Eight Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment!
You can read more about this at [Page no longer available – we have linked to the archive.org version instead].
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