A Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled that journalists at the Los Angeles Times do not have to disclose the identities of their sources or turn over unpublished material they gathered during the course of their reporting.
Under California’s Shield Law, journalists are protected from being forced to reveal confidential sources or to turn over unpublished information such as notes, photographs, and videos.
The protective order issued by the judge is the latest development in an ongoing lawsuit brought by the Times against Los Angeles County for blocking access to public records.
In a suit filed on March 20, 2018, the Times alleges that LA county officials have refused multiple requests for records relating to the status of murder investigations, and files involving prosecutors and other employees of the district attorney’s office who have been disciplined for sexual harassment or misconduct.
“The County’s baseless denials of public records requests and pattern of obstruction violate the California Public Records Act, and impede the public’s right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people’s business,” reads the complaint.
The California’s public records act was created to provide transparency about how local government conducts its business, and allows access to information such as city contracts with vendors, expenditures and disbursement of judicial agencies, and employment contracts between state and local agencies and any public official or employee.