Hastings Communications and Entertainment Law Journal


Randy Baker


Newspaper owners presently have both the ability and the inclination to limit the flow of information to the public. One device they use to suppress the flow of information is the threat of discharging recalcitrant employees. The author explains the "checking" function of the press on the government and how that function is impaired by newspaper owners' tendencies to limit or suppress the publication of certain information. The author also discusses the dilemma faced by editors in adhering to their journalistic standards while still enforcing the newspaper owner's policies. The author proposes that California's bar against discharges motivated by purposes contrary to public policy be extended to certain newspaper employees. Although under this proposal reporters and editors would prevail only by proving that the newspaper owners violated public policy, the proposed cause of action would render newspaper owners reluctant to suppress information through the threat of discharge.