(The Hosting News) – With the Wikileaks hoopla a few years ago and the recent leaking of government documents concerning President Obama allegedly targeting American citizens for assassinations, a lot of attention is now being paid to how and where reporters, bloggers, etc receive the information they use to inform their reports, posts and articles. Nowhere has this been more paralyzing than in the current events/news blogging niche.
It’s natural, as a blogger, to worry about what will happen to you if you write a blog post about these leaks or the information contained within them. The reaction to the Wikileaks scandal, in particular, has made more than one news blogger pack up his pixels and run for the pop culture hills. Don’t think, though, that you need to follow suit.
Before we go into precedent and legal statute, a cautionary note: if you want to write about something but are worried that writing about that something will get you into some major legal hot water, talk to an attorney. Getting your legal questions answered by a professional prior to publishing is the best course of action when you aren’t sure about the legality of something you want to do. Better to ask in advance than be sorry and pay for it later, right?
That said—from what we could find, as long as you come by the information for your blog post legally, there’s no reason you can’t write about that information. You can speculate, you can offer your own opinions or even just regurgitate the facts as you find them.
This means that it is absolutely legal to, say, read about the Wikileaks scandal in the news and then write a post about it on your own blog. It is okay to offer an opinion about the confidential memos being circulated through the press regarding drone strikes and the targeting of American citizens. Just make sure to properly cite your sources so that, in the event your post does raise a flag somewhere, the flag waver can see exactly where you are getting your information.
Where it gets tricky is if you aren’t sure whether or not your source material is legally obtained or not. For example—can you write a blog post about a conversation you heard between two people without those peoples’ consent? This is where having a legal expert or attorney from whom you can seek advice is very helpful.
Remember, the First Amendment applies to bloggers too! As long as you haven’t broken any laws yourself, you are more than likely allowed to write about whatever you want.