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Confidentiality in Legal Petitions and Claims for Privileged Information 

Ethical and Legal Considerations

Annette Flanagin

A number of cases in US law have served as the foundation for or have directly supported the confidential nature of the editorial and peer review process. In 1972, the US Supreme Court ruled in Branzburg v Hayes that a reporter could be forced to testify if, during the course of news gathering, the reporter became a witness to a crime. However, the court also noted that individual states could create their own standards with regard to a journalistic privilege (ie, a right) to keep sources of information confidential, allowing lower courts in subsequent rulings to support such privilege. With

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