Law and Philosophy 39 (2):203-238 (2020)

Dorota Mokrosinska
Leiden University
In 2013, following the leaks by Edward Snowden, The Guardian published a number of classified NSA documents. Both leaking and publishing leaks violate the law prohibiting unauthorized disclosures. Accordingly, there are two potential targets for prosecution: the leakers and the press. In practice, however, only the leakers are prosecuted: Snowden is facing a threat of 30 years’ imprisonment; no charges have been made against The Guardian. If both leaking and publishing leaks violate the law, why prosecute only the leakers and not the press? I consider and reject two arguments. The first claims that the press has special moral claims by virtue of its rights or its role. The second argument states that the leakers commit a greater wrong than the press. I conclude that the current prosecution practice is inconsistent: prosecutors should either prosecute both or neither.
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DOI 10.1007/s10982-019-09367-1
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