1. Main
  2. Learn
  3. Incidents
  4. Crime

Threats, ethics fail to deter US media on Sony emails16 декабря 2014, 14:06

Threats, ethics fail to deter US media on Sony emails Threats, ethics fail to deter US media on Sony emails

 Ethical arguments and legal threats looked unlikely Monday to deter US media from delving ever deeper into the hacked emails of Hollywood powerhouse Sony Pictures Entertainment, AFP reports.

Top newsroom executives reasserted their duty to draw public attention to purloined confidential information -- though they differed over the significance of the Sony trove.

"As we’ve made clear, we have used documents surfaced by others" in the past, said New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet.

"It would be a disservice to our readers to pretend these documents weren’t revealing and public," added Baquet on the Times' website.

"But the main issue, the main thing we consider, is how newsworthy the documents are."

Baquet said the Times didn't rank the Sony data dump on a par with the Pentagon Papers in 1971 or the Wikileaks data dump of 2006 -- both of which figured prominently in the newspaper.

Media gossip blog Gawker, however, vowed to pursue its aggressive coverage of "very newsworthy documents" that give a rare glimpse into the inner workings of a major multinational corporation.

    'A public concern' 

 "We'll continue to report on what's so squarely in the ambit of public concern," Gawker president and chief counsel Heather Dietrick told AFP by email.

The Sony data breach -- by a posse of hackers who may or may not have links to North Korea -- is thought to be the worst cyber theft of its kind in US corporate history.

Both the Times and Gawker were among US news media that received a stern letter over the weekend from Sony's lawyer David Boies, demanding that they immediately halt mining what he called, in capital letters, "the Stolen Information."

Failure to do so, Boies said, might trigger a lawsuit from Sony Pictures Entertainment, a cornerstone of Japan's Sony Corporation.

"Good luck with that legal threat," responded San Francisco digital rights lawyer Marcia Hofmann, writing on her Twitter account.

She recalled a US Supreme Court decision in 2001, Bartnicki versus Vopper, that held that news media cannot be held liable for publishing material illegally obtained by a third party.

"I think the Sony letter is misguided. It's not likely to prevent journalists from mining that information," said Kelly McBride, an expert on journalistic ethics at the Poynter Institute.

    'Possibly not true' 

 "That said, I don't think all the information contained in the emails is of public interest. And it's possible that it's not all true," she told AFP by email.

The ethics of publishing the Sony emails were challenged Sunday in an Times op-ed by screenwriter Aaron Sorkin, whose credits include "The Social Network," "Moneyball" and the TV series "The Newsroom."

News media that publish the emails, he said, were "morally treasonous and spectacularly dishonorable.... As demented and criminal as it is, the hackers are doing for a cause. The press is doing it for a nickel."

His viewpoint was shared by some Sony employees.

"Browsing and spreading details about this stolen data in a public article is almost as bad as stealing it in the first place," wrote one employee on the website of Fusion, a Millennial-oriented video channel.

(Sorkin himself figures in some of the emails, including one in which Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal suggests he is "broke" and maybe sleeping with the author of a book he wanted to turn into a movie.)

  A question of balance 

 John Watson, director of the journalism school at American University in Washington, said journalists in the United States are expected to balance the public interest against the potential harm that a piece of information might cause.

"In this case, the harm is just going to be reputational to a multinational corporation," he told AFP in a telephone interview.

"Journalists should not be participants in the stealing of informations," he added, "but if (such information) shows up, they have an obligation to look and it and consider if it's newsworthy, reliable and true."

Nobel prizewinner proposes a new city in KZ
New abnormal snowfalls expected in Kazakhstan
Huge glacier retreat triggered in 1940s
Hyperloop construction begins in Las Vegas
"Moonlight" to top Spirit Awards nominations
Oil prices fall due to investors uncertainty
New dwarf galaxy discovered around Milky Way
Kanat Islam becomes a top ten WBO boxer
World oil prices continue to rise
Kazakhstan expects warming - Kazhydromet
Merkel to seek fourth term as chancellor
Sale of Tintin drawings set to break records
US, EU stocks fall as markets focus on dollar
Pacific leaders urged to defend free trade
EU warns eight nations on budget deficit
Universiade-2017: Athletic Village is ready
Bob Dylan can't make Nobel ceremony
Messi will never leave Barca - club president
Google, Facebook take aim at 'fake' news
Aerosmith announces Europe 'farewell' tour
Putin, Trump to normalise US-Russia ties
At least 10 hurt in southern Turkey blast
6.2 quake hits western Japan
OPEC agrees shock oil output cut
Israeli ex-president and Nobel laureate Peres dies
Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
32,000 arrested in Turkey coup probe
Youth to the fore as Milan fashion week opens
Xenophobia threatening peace in eastern Germany
Four-in-10 Japanese are virgins: poll
Sweden re-militarises Baltic island of Gotland
China to launch second space laboratory: Xinhua
More than a billion stars mapped in Milky Way: ESA
Boxing: Golovkin eyes Saunders after stopping Brook
Kazakhstan shifts PM to security chief
Oil prices gain despite rising OPEC supply forecast
US to give Philippines military planes
Singapore wages war on Zika-bearing mosquitoes
Italy quake death toll nears 250
Viral photos add fuel to French burkini debate
18 dead as Italy struck by powerful quake
Japan's first lady visits Pearl Harbor
Pokemon's a no-go on Bangkok's roads
July was Earth's hottest month in modern times
Pakistan rock climbers scale new heights