On Monday, the Utah chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists presented an award to the Utah Supreme Court in recognition of the court’s adoption of the so-called “shield rule,” which protects anonymity of journalist’s sources.
Utah citizens “can now feel confident that they can share information anonymously without fear of repercussion,” said Allison Barlow-Hess, president of the Utah Headliners, the Beehive State’s SPJ chapter. “Confidential sources allow for free speech and a better democratic process.”
The court passed the shield rule last year.
In addition, the Utah SPJ chapter handed out a dubious award, known as the Black Hole Award, during the ceremony. The Black hole recognizes an entity with “little interest in conducting the public’s business in the light of day.”
This year’s winner was Provo City, recognized for its unwillingness to release documents about the sale of iProvo.
“We wish we never had to give a Black hole Award,” said Hess. Governments “do not own the information [contained in public documents], the citizens do. Those records are vital to Utah citizens in their participation in a democracy.”