Despite other incursions this year, Nevada court upholds shield law

Nov 1, 2023

The Nevada Supreme Court handed news media organizations a victory in October by ruling that the reporter’s shield law continues to apply, even after the death of the reporter. The dispute arose during investigation of the murder of Jeff German, a reporter working on an official corruption story for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The police department executed a search warrant and seized electronic devices and other property belonging to German. The Review-Journal filed a complaint, but police said that German’s death extinguished any legal rights to journalists’ confidentiality. The police were wrong, the high court ruled.

“The statute’s purpose is to protect confidentiality during and after the news-gathering process,” the court said.

National Newspaper Association joined in an amicus brief filed by the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press to support the newspaper.

NNA Chair John Galer, publisher of The Journal-News in Hillsboro, Illinois, said he was heartened by the court’s decision.

“Our industry has been shaken this year by incursions by law enforcement agencies upon journalists’ rights to do their jobs. Newsroom searches and seizures put police on a collision course with the First Amendment. There are good reasons for shield laws. It is great to see the courts striking the right balance,” he said.