Press Club Condemns L.A. County Sheriff’s Dept. Over 1st Amendment Violations of TMZ’s Harvey Levin

Harvey Levin at this weeks' RTNA Media Workshop

Harvey Levin speaks at this weeks' RTNA media workshop.

Club condemns the actions of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in violating a reporter’s right under state law to maintain confidential sources in the case involving website TMZ’s Harvey Levin. The department obtained a search warrant to examine Levin’s private telephone records thereby identifying the reporter’s confidential sources, a direct assault on freedom of the press.

Harvey Levin is the founder and editor of TMZ.com, a Hollywood celebrity website. According to records examined by the Los Angeles Times, a now identified Sheriff’s deputy, who believed he was acting as a confidential source and a whistleblower, leaked the story behind actor Mel Gibson’s drunk-driving arrest in 2006.

Levin says the department is seeking “revenge” for his publishing the story that charged the arresting deputy was ordered by superiors to suppress the details of Gibson’s abusive language and behavior and anti-Semitic remarks.

Levin says he only found out about the warrant that authorized the sheriff’s department to see his home telephone records when he read about it in the Los Angeles Times. “We share Mr. Levin’s outrage as well as the deep concern of the executive director of The Reporter’s Committee for the Freedom of the Press,” said Los Angeles Press Club President Chris Woodyard, a reporter for USA Today.

“The tradition of protecting a reporter’s sources is key to the media’s role as watchdog-that’s why the California Shield Law was enacted. And that’s why there is a federal shield law winding its way through Congress. This assault on the First Amendment should not be tolerated in a free society.”

Woodyard will have press availability to discuss this issue. Please contact Press Club publicist, Edward Headington, at number or email above to arrange for an interview.

The Los Angeles Press Club stands as an organization devoted to improving the spirit of journalism and journalists, raising the industry’s standards, strengthening its integrity and improving its reputation all for the benefit of the community at large. Serving the Southland since 1913, it is the only Southern California journalism group that speaks for all journalists working for daily and weekly newspapers, radio & TV, magazines, documentary films and online. For more information, go to http://www.lapressclub.org/.

PR Newswire, co-sponsor for all Los Angeles Press Club events, is the global leader in news and information distribution services for professional communicators.  For more information, go to http://www.prnewswire.com/.

Headington Media Group is a boutique communications firm dedicated to promoting public affairs in Southern California, specializing in image management, branding, messaging and public relations. For more information, go to http://headingtonmedia.com/ and/or visit http://headingtonmediacenter.org/.

The Los Angeles Press Club stands as an organization devoted to improving the spirit of journalism and journalists, raising the industry’s standards, strengthening its integrity and improving its reputation all for the benefit of the community at large.  Serving the Southland since 1913, it is the only Southern California journalism group that speaks for all journalists working for daily and weekly newspapers, radio & TV, magazines, documentary films and online.

Join the Press Club Mailing List
The Los Angeles Press Club4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90027www.LAPressClub.org

The Los Angeles Press Club 4773 Hollywood Blvd., Hollywood, CA 90027

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s