NC Judge Says Online ID's Can Remain Confidential

A North Carolina judge has ruled that news organizations do not have to release the identities of commentators to their online news articles.

The Charlotte Observer reported Saturday that Gaston County Superior Court Judge Calvin Murphy ruled the Gaston Gazette did not have to tell the attorney for a murder suspect who a commentator was on an article about the case.

The judge's order issued Tuesday cited the First Amendment and North Carolina's shield law that protects news gatherers from having to release the identities of its sources.

An attorney for the North Carolina Press Association said the ruling is a significant protection against release of commentator information to a third party, but is not a blanket ruling for all online comments.

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