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Supreme Court Rules Online Journalists Are Real Journalists

The Nevada Supreme Court ruled today that online reporters are indeed reporters and can enjoy the protection of Reporter Shield laws. This ruling is a major victory for online publications,

Justices Unanimously Agree: Online Journalists are Real Journalists

In its unanimous decision, Chief Justice Mark Gibbons wrote that “Just because a newspaper can exist online, it does not mean it ceases to be a newspaper. To hold otherwise would be to create an absurd result in direct contradiction of the rules of statutory interpretation.”

The question arose from a narrow interpretation of Nevada’s Reporter Shield Law by Judge James Wilson. Earlier this year, Judge Wilson ruled that because I didn’t join the Nevada Press Association until August of 2017, I was unable to enjoy the protection of Nevada’s Reporter Shield Law between February and August of 2017.

Because of Wilson’s narrow ruling, lawyers for Lance Gilman could depose me and force me to reveal sources of information I obtained that I later used to write a piece that Gilman claimed was defamatory. The Supreme Court halted further action in the matter pending today’s decision.

What’s Next

The case now returns to Judge Wilson’s court. He must reconsider his previous motion to compel me to disclose sources based on the new interpretation of the Court.

Gilman’s lawyers were able to convince Judge Wilson that the statements made in the article in question were potentially defamatory. However, Gilman was unable to prove actual malice. Malice is a key component of a defamatory statement.

We now await further action from Judge Wilson.

Major Victory for Nevada Journalists

At a time when it is more difficult and dangerous to be a journalist, I am encouraged by Nevada’s Supreme Court’s ruling. The ruling confirms what I believe everyone takes for granted in today’s digital age; online journalists are real journalists and deserve the protection of Reporter Shield Laws.

Today’s decision is a major victory for journalists in Nevada and across the country.

What Others Are Saying About The Ruling

Nevada Independent: Supreme Court rules that news shield law applies to digital media, sends developer’s defamation case back to lower court

Review-Journal: Nevada Supreme Court rules shield law applies to digital journalists

Carson Appeal: Nevada Supreme Court says newspaper shield law covers digital media

 

 

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11 comments

  1. Congratulations Sam…I am so proud of you in this effort…..
    Nicole

  2. Congrats …..this is big.

  3. Good news! Thanks for reporting it as a legitimate journalist. LOL

  4. Very good news!

  5. Congratulations, Sam, on your NV Supreme Court victory!

  6. Thank you, Sam. Thank you.

  7. SAM TOLL – REPORTER EXTRAORDINARY
    He’s the Sam DNA Dehne of Storey County!!! 
    And that is the ultimate compliment.
    (if I say so myself)
    I took City of Reno and Reno Airport to
    the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals 2 different times for
    slightly similar situations.
    (Wrongful removal from Reno govt meetings and jailing of
    Reno’s Citizen Watchdog)
    And (like you!!) I won them both unanimously with all of
    the 9th Court Judges voting En Banc. 
    http://www.renocitizen.com/9th.htm
    BUT THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME.
    Thank you Sam Toll, for all that you do to
    fight corruption and the REAL prostitution!!
    Sam DNA Dehne

  8. Quick PS:
    Gilman Has Delayed Justice Long Enough.
    It’s way past time to get back to the original merits of this case:
    Gilman’s unlawful residence; which if proven, would/should
    invalidate previous and subsequent Storey County
    Commission decisions.
    Sam DNA
    https://www.youtube.com/user/samsrawrah/videos

  9. PSS
    Let us not forget that Sam Toll has become one of
    the leading PIONEERS in taking the legal definition of
    Newspaper Reporter Credentials into the 21st Century.
    I do not know of anybody else in America who has
    carried this Patriotic Flag further and higher.
    Sam DNA

  10. Thank you one and all for your kind words. Together we are helping to keep Storey County accountable…

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