The Pennsylvania Shield Law and the First Amendment reporter’s privilege provide broad protections to reporters in Pennsylvania who are subpoenaed for their notes, documents and/or testimony. The Shield Law is an absolute privilege that precludes the compelled disclosure of confidential source information. Conversely, the First Amendment reporter’s privilege is a qualified privilege that protects both confidential and non-confidential sources, as well as a reporter’s resource materials and unpublished and even published information. In order to overcome the First Amendment privilege, the person serving the subpoena must prove (1) that the information sought is crucial to the claims at issue, (2) that alternative sources of the information have been exhausted, and (3) that the reporter is the only source of the information.
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