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Chinese to English - Rates: 0.05 - 0.08 USD per word / 500 - 500 USD per hour
| PRO-level points: 32, Questions answered: 41, Questions asked: 1 |
|Sample translations submitted: 1 |
|English to Chinese: Saved by the Shield|
|Source text - English|
Saved by the Shield
A reporter recalls his legal crucible after the Chiquita story
By Cameron McWhirter
Ten years ago this month began a period of my life that I have come to call my season in hell. It was a prolonged horror of court hearings and depositions following the collapse of The Cincinnati Enquirer¡¯s investigation of Chiquita Brands International. But like all calamities, it delivered unexpected insights. One of the most important for me was a fierce love of shield laws. To all journalists everywhere: you should love them too. These laws are fundamental to what we do. We should be fighting to get a federal shield law passed. So should every citizen who suspects that powerful institutions in our society regularly hide vital information from the public. After years of an uneasy truce between prosecutors and media organizations, federal officials have increasingly been dragging reporters to court and pressing them to reveal confidential sources. It is time to push back.
A decade ago, I learned the hard way that a shield law is one of the most important press protections we have. Shield laws, of course, give journalists the right to keep the names of sources confidential in legal proceedings. They are on the books in thirty-two states and the District of Columbia. Another seventeen states have upheld the idea of reportorial privilege in court cases (Wyoming is the only holdout). But no federal equivalent exists, despite repeated efforts in Congress.
My shield-law saga began on May 3, 1998, when the Enquirer published an eighteen-page special report, CHIQUITA SECRETS REVEALED, which detailed the political, legal, and economic woes of the huge Cincinnati-based banana company. As the number-two reporter on the project, I researched the troubled history of trade disputes between Chiquita and the European Union. I investigated environmental problems caused by pesticide use in banana production in Costa Rica. I interviewed displaced villagers in Honduras, banana farmers in the Caribbean, environmental experts in Washington, scientists in San Jose, and government officials in Brussels. I spent months studying banana production and researching Central American history. I checked my facts dozens of times. A brigade of lawyers vetted every sentence. I was proud of my work. I still am.
Lawyers and editors checked Mike Gallagher¡¯s work as well. He was the lead reporter, and was focusing his work on allegations of Chiquita officials paying bribes at ports in Colombia. He relied heavily on anonymous sources. One of his sources, he claimed, was providing him with recordings of voicemails between Chiquita executives. My editors and the lawyers for Gannett, which owns the Enquirer, told me that I was not to know the identity of Gallagher¡¯s source within Chiquita. If Chiquita sued, they said, the fewer people who knew the identity of this high-ranking source the better.
The project stunned provincial Cincinnati; the Enquirer had never attempted anything as ambitious in its history. But after the series ran, Gallagher unraveled. He argued fiercely with editors and me about strange follow-up stories that he hoped to publish. He ignored the directives of editors. When bosses questioned him yet again about his source and how he obtained information, he never gave clear answers. Worried editors sent Gallagher to an outside lawyer to talk about the project. He returned to announce that, on his lawyer¡¯s advice, he would no longer talk about the project with anyone, inside or outside the Enquirer.
Soon we learned why: Gallagher had lied to us about having a source within Chiquita who had provided him information. Instead, he had illegally accessed Chiquita¡¯s voicemail system himself, hundreds of times, despite being warned repeatedly not to do so by editors and lawyers. It was a stunning case of reporter misconduct, and, obviously, the Enquirer and I were caught in the blast. Under intense pressure from Chiquita, Gannett fired Gallagher, paid $14 million to Chiquita, and published a disturbing front-page apology that implied that Gallagher¡¯s misdeeds had negated the entire series. The Enquirer and the rest of the Cincinnati media abandoned the substantive truth of the series. I was ordered not to write about Chiquita. The ban lasted five years.
It got worse. County officials set up a special prosecutor to investigate the newspaper and individuals who worked on the project. Gallagher, facing criminal prosecution, abandoned his carefully constructed self-image as an intrepid reporter and quickly cut a deal. He waived Ohio¡¯s shield law and agreed to reveal sources. It was stupefying.
Within months of publication of what I thought was the best project of my young career, I found myself sitting in a shabby, windowless conference room in a low-rent section of Cincinnati¡¯s modest downtown. My lawyer and I sat on one side of a scuffed table. The special prosecutor and his associates sat on the other side. They frowned and smoked cigarettes.
The special prosecutor wanted me to do something simple: sign a piece of paper agreeing to waive Ohio¡¯s shield law. Doing so would require me to disclose confidential sources with whom I had spoken during the yearlong investigation. He made clear that the risks of not cooperating were great, and threatened to indict me on unspecified charges. I could lose my job; I could go to jail, he said. I must fully cooperate and waive the shield law or he would come after me. His threats, for a while delivered hourly in telephone calls to my lawyer, ranged wildly. He claimed he was going to prosecute me for being a co-conspirator of some kind. Now that I look back, his threats seem like bluster. At the time, they scared the hell out of me.
But early on in the crisis, I came to an unavoidable conclusion: keeping a source confidential was at the heart of being a journalist. I told the prosecutor I wouldn¡¯t waive the shield. I clung to it.
Before the Chiquita fiasco, I considered journalistic responsibilities and rights in the abstract. I had a dim sense that the great challenges of my unfolding career might involve dodging bullets in a foreign war or secretly meeting some high-ranking White House official in a parking lot. Someday, in the future, I would be that journalist, I thought.
These notions, of course, evaporated in Cincinnati. My challenge was in that room with the chain-smoking special prosecutor. The question was not what journalist was I going to become, but what journalist was I at that moment. In this life, we learn about what we really believe not when things go well, but when they go wrong. I learned in that room that I would face jail rather than discuss confidential sources.
Looking back, I believe that my position was not machismo; it was an innate reaction as a reporter. I wasn¡¯t just refusing to identify a particular person or persons; I was asserting that journalists, even amid failed projects, must stick to their promises and their rules. These rules did not evolve haphazardly; they developed naturally out of our essential role in an open society. Courts have not recognized the right of journalists to refuse to identify sources as flowing from the First Amendment. But journalists have resisted identifying sources since before the American Revolution.
I also don¡¯t think my position was romantic. Reporters don¡¯t promise confidentiality because of an idealized notion of the whistleblower. Though sometimes confidential sources are indeed heroic and altruistic, more often they are not. They sometimes have base motives, like revenge or personal gain. Some have political motives. Others have a grudge. Some are criminals, which can raise special complications that the courts have wrestled with over the years.
In fact, in the Supreme Court case that launched the modern shield-law movement, Branzburg v. Hayes (1972), Paul Branzburg, a Louisville Courier-Journal reporter, tried to assert First Amendment rights in refusing to reveal the identity of two hashish dealers he had profiled. (See ¡°Attack at the Source,¡± by Douglas McCollam, CJR, March/April 2005.) The Supreme Court ruled five to four that the First Amendment does not protect journalists from having to testify against sources. The fact that Branzburg was shielding drug dealers didn¡¯t help him. In its opinion, however, the majority acknowledged that ¡°without some protection for seeking out the news, freedom of the press could be eviscerated.¡± This phrase helped press-freedom supporters argue for the creation and strengthening of shield laws in many states. What the First Amendment could not do, shield laws would.
Sometimes. In 1978, the New York Times reporter Myron Farber went to jail in New Jersey instead of revealing confidential sources on his story about a doctor charged with murdering his patients. More recently, in the performance-enhancing-drug scandal involving the Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative (BALCO), San Francisco Chronicle reporters Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada risked federal prison for a source. With no shield law to protect them, the reporters were headed to prison. At the eleventh hour, a witness tipped off the FBI that Troy Ellerman, the company president¡¯s lawyer, was the source. Confronted, Ellerman confessed. (The attorney cited his own cocaine and alcohol abuse as a factor in his decision to leak sealed grand-jury testimony.)
As you can see, sources often are not the kind of people you¡¯d want as babysitters. Yet the reporters were right to not name names. In the case of BALCO, the work made an obvious contribution to the public¡¯s knowledge of steroid drug abuse and aided public discussion of the topic. The issue gets more complicated in the Valerie Plame case, which became a kind of media Rorschach test: war opponents saw the New York Times reporter Judith Miller as an uncritical lapdog schmoozing with the Bush administration; media critics saw the Washington press corps as grotesquely sucking up to power. Miller¡¯s source, Scooter Libby, seemed to be out to smear Plame¡¯s husband, Joseph Wilson, in White House revenge for his revelations that were damaging to the administration¡¯s prewar case against Iraq. Many journalists are convinced that this incident was not the moment to assert the principle of not revealing sources, that it was problematic. Still, I believe Miller made the correct decision to go to jail rather than reveal a source. She did what she was supposed to do. Until Libby personally released Miller from her pledge of confidentiality, she stuck by her word and asserted the principle.
It¡¯s a simple equation: if people with sensitive information are more likely to get in trouble when they contact reporters, fewer of them will do it. If fewer people come forward, less critical information gets to the public. Democracy is not served.
In the current session of Congress, a federal shield law, pushed by Indiana Republican Mike Pence and others, passed the House and passed the Senate Judiciary Committee (see ¡°The Shield Bearer,¡± CJR, May/June 2007). Since then, however, the bill has languished, waiting to be called to the Senate floor for a vote. If the bill dies in this Congress, we can only hope the same bipartisan group that pushed it will reintroduce another next session. All three presidential candidates have said they support the concept of the shield law.
Journalists often talk about confidentiality when recounting stories that went journalistically right¡ªWatergate being the classic example. Promises of confidentiality are more important when things go wrong¡ªand that is when a shield law is most needed. A source taking a risk to provide information doesn¡¯t want to know what the journalist will say if everything goes smoothly. He or she wants to know that the reporter will not be compelled to talk if everything goes bust.
Toni Locy, formerly of USA Today, was found in contempt recently by a federal judge for refusing to reveal her confidential sources for a story about Steven Hatfill, the bioweapons scientist who is suing the government for naming him a ¡°person of interest¡± in the 2001 anthrax cases. Former Attorney General John Ashcroft himself named Hatfill at a press conference, but whatever case the government was trying to build fell apart. Hatfill was never charged with anything. He has every legal right to sue the government and pursue his case. Hatfill¡¯s lawyers feel forcing Locy to violate confidentiality will somehow further their case. They are pressing the issue for one simple reason: they can. There is no legal protection on confidentiality for journalists in federal court. They are not concerned with journalists¡¯ ethical code; they just want to win. Would Hatfill¡¯s lawyers try to force other lawyers to abandon attorney-client privilege? They wouldn¡¯t think of it.
But Locy faces jail time and steep fines. U.S. District Court Judge Reggie Walton even tried to forbid USA Today from paying those fines. An appeals court overruled him, thankfully, but the fact that Locy is in this position at all is appalling. Similar cases have popped up in federal courts in Washington, D.C., Illinois, California, and elsewhere.
Critics kick around a standard series of questions regarding the creation of a federal shield law. Should journalists be granted shield protections for any story they write, whether about a corrupt politician or the moment¡¯s plummeting celebrity? Who is a journalist, anyway? These are legitimate concerns. But they can be resolved with healthy debate. Another question that gets asked also has an answer: Are we really missing any stories without a federal shield law?
In truth, we don¡¯t know exactly what stories we are missing. But it¡¯s a safe assumption that as the risk of identification increases, fewer sources will come forward, and the public will have less information. Many questions raised about shield laws divert the discussion away from the fundamental point: the shield-law privilege is vital because it makes reporters neutral parties in any legal problems sources may encounter. That is its great function and sole purpose. Sources must know that by coming forth with information, they risk consequences. They will be sought out. However, they must also know that reporters will not reveal their names.
Unlike Judy Miller and Toni Locy and many others through the years, I had shield protection in the Chiquita case. Ohio¡¯s shield law reads:
No person engaged in the work of, or connected with, or employed by any newspaper or any press association for the purpose of gathering, procuring, compiling, editing, disseminating, or publishing news shall be required to disclose the source of any information procured or obtained by such person in the course of his employment, in any legal proceeding, trial, or investigation before any court, grand jury, petit jury, or any officer thereof, before the presiding officer of any tribunal, or his agent, or before any commission, department, division, or bureau of this state, or before any county or municipal body, officer or committee thereof.
Nowhere in the legislation does it state the stories must meet some standard of societal importance. Or that the sources must meet some standard of ethical behavior. It¡¯s a blanket privilege. And Ohio¡¯s legal system has not collapsed since the shield law¡¯s passage, back in 1953.
Of course, the Chiquita fiasco was by no means a simple shield-law case. Prosecutors went looking for chinks in the shield law in part because Mike Gallagher wasn¡¯t just protecting sources. He broke the law. Gannett had no choice but to fire him. Facing prosecution, Gallagher quickly cashed in the only chit he had: he rolled on sources. He pleaded guilty to felonies, received probation, and promptly left journalism.
Then the prosecutors turned to me, and to others involved in the project. In my final showdown meeting with the special prosecutor, I wasn¡¯t sure what he would do. I had resolved that it didn¡¯t matter; I would stand by the journalistic principle of source confidentiality. I remember the moment: I held firm; the prosecutor stared at my face for a while, then shrugged. To my surprise, he backed down. He had threatened me for weeks, but this last meeting ended with a whimper. I signed a revamped document, which simply required me to tell the truth while maintaining the shield law¡ªsomething I had done all along.
A few months later, a new special prosecutor (the county let the previous one go) assured me in a brief meeting that he wouldn¡¯t challenge my right to the shield law. I took the witness stand once in a preliminary hearing in April 1999. I testified that an individual at one point had offered the Enquirer access codes to Chiquita¡¯s voicemail, and I had given the information to Gallagher, since I wasn¡¯t sure what we could do with it. I testified that Gallagher told me that an unnamed source had already provided him with the codes, and also that Gannett lawyers and editors had instructed him numerous times not to access Chiquita¡¯s voicemail after he admitted he had briefly done so. No one asked me to identify anyone, and within minutes my involvement in any criminal proceedings was over.
The legal matters didn¡¯t end, however; several civil cases dragged on for years, past when even the Enquirer cared to cover it in its pages. I was deposed numerous times. In several depositions, I had to repeatedly refuse to answer questions regarding confidential sources. At one point, a person whom Gallagher earlier had named as a source sued Gannett, claiming breach of contract. Along the way, he tried to get Enquirer employees, including me, to back up Gallagher¡¯s assertion that he had indeed been a source. His lawyers were trying to force a journalist to reveal confidential sources in an attempt to prove their client had been revealed. Yes, it was as absurd as it sounds. The shield law¡¯s importance for the free flow of information became clearer to me every time a lawyer pressed me to talk. Five years after the mess began, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Cincinnati upheld my right to the shield. The questions stopped.
To this day, I¡¯m not sure exactly what transpired in all the legal wrangling. If I had waived the shield, would it have made a difference in who was prosecuted or how they were charged? Thanks to the shield law, I¡¯ll never know. In the last ten years, people occasionally have asked me about my anonymous sources on the Chiquita project. I tell them what I have always said: I won¡¯t discuss it.
|Translation - Chinese|
十年前的这个月，我经历了一段艰难日子，我把它称之为生命中的地狱煎熬。那是在《辛辛那提问询报》（The Cincinnati Enquirer）所做的关于奇基塔牌国际公司（Chiquita Brands International）的调查报道崩溃之后，所带来的漫长而恐怖的法庭听证和作证。不过，和一切灾难一样，那段日子也给我带来意料之外的认识，其中重要的一点就是使我狂热地爱上了盾牌法（译者：又称新闻记者保障法，是保障新闻从业人员可以拒绝说出机密消息来源的法律）。各地所有的新闻工作者们：你们也应该热爱盾牌法。这些法律是我们工作的基础，我们应该努力奋斗，促使联邦盾牌法获得通过，每一位怀疑强力机构在我们这个开放社会中经常对公众藏匿重要信息的公民也应该支持联邦盾牌法。检察官和媒体机构在经历了多年不稳定的休战之后，联邦官员日益把记者拖上法庭，逼迫他们吐露秘密信息来源，现在是反击的时候了。
我的盾牌法传奇始于1998年5月3日，当时《问询报》刊登了长达18页的特别报道《揭密奇基塔》（CHIQUITA SECRETS REVEALED），详细揭示了这个总部设在辛辛那提的巨型香蕉公司所带来的政治、法律和经济灾难。我作为这个报道计划的次席记者，研究了奇基塔公司和欧洲联盟（European Union）麻烦不断的贸易争端史，调查了在哥斯达黎加种植香蕉时因使用杀虫刹所导致的环境问题，采访了被迫离开家园的洪都拉斯村民、加勒比地区的蕉农、华盛顿的环境专家、圣何塞的科学家和布鲁塞尔的政府官员。我花了数月时间研究香蕉生产和中美洲地区的历史，数十次核查我所获得的事实。一群律师审查了我所写的每一句话。我对的作品感到自豪，直到今天依然如此。
实际上，最高法院的布兰兹伯格诉海耶斯案（Branzburg v. Hayes (1972)）引发了现代盾牌法运动，在该案例中《路易斯维尔信使杂志》记者保罗•布兰兹伯格（Paul Branzburg）试图援引宪法第一修正案作为拒绝透露在其报道中所提到的两名印度大麻毒贩身份的依据（见道格拉斯•麦克拉姆（Douglas McCollam）著“打击信息来源”，载于《哥伦比亚新闻评论》2005年3月/4月号）。最高法院以五票对四票裁定，新闻记者在对不利于信息来源的案例中作证时不受第一修正案保护，布兰兹伯格保护毒贩身份这一事实对他并没有帮助。然而在绝大多数人看来，“搜寻新闻时如果没有某种保护，新闻自由就成了空话。”新闻自由的支持者们依据这句话在很多州为创建和强化盾牌法辩护。第一修正案所不能做的，就让盾牌法来完成吧。
1978年的某个时候，《纽约时报》记者米伦•法伯尔（Myron Farber）因为拒绝透露在他所做的关于一名医生谋杀其病人的报道中提到的秘密信息来源而在新泽西入狱。更近些时候，在涉及“湾区合作实验室”（Bay Area Laboratory Co-Operative，略写为BALCO）的兴奋剂丑闻中，由于一个信息来源问题，《旧金山纪事报》（San Francisco Chronicle）记者兰斯•威廉姆斯（Lance Williams）和马克•费纳鲁-韦德（Mark Fainaru-Wada）面临进联邦监狱的危险。由于缺乏盾牌法的保护，他们就去了监狱。当晚11点钟，一名证人向FBI透露说，该公司总裁的律师特洛伊•艾勒曼（Troy Ellerman）就是信息来源。FBI找到艾勒曼之后，他承认了（这名律师称他这所以泄露大陪审团的证词，滥用可卡因和酗酒是一个原因）。
正如你所看到的，信息来源通常不是人们所想的如保姆那样令人放心的人，然而记者不透露相关人士的姓名是对的。在BALCO的案例中，记者的报道显然使公众加深了解了滥用类固醇药物的问题，并且有助于推动关于这个话题的公开讨论。在维拉瑞•普拉姆（Valerie Plame）案例中，记者保障问题变得更为复杂，它成为一种关于媒体的罗夏测验（译者：瑞士精神科医生罗夏于1921年首创的一种测验，适应于成人和儿童，主要用作性格测验。也可用来观察智力，临床上可用于作诊断测验和发现病人内心冲突的内容）：战争反对者们把《纽约时报》记者朱迪思•米勒（Judith Miller）视为一味讨好布什政府的哈巴狗；媒体批评者们认为华盛顿记者团是替权势吹捧的怪物。向米勒透露信息的斯科特•利比（Scooter Libby）可能是想给普拉姆的丈夫约瑟夫•威尔逊抹黑，因为威尔逊泄露的信息破坏了布什政府准备打击伊拉克的战前努力，白宫意欲报复。很多新闻工作者相信，这件事并不适宜引用不透露信息来源的原则，因为它有问题。而我仍然相信，米勒做出了正确决定，宁愿入狱也不透露信息来源。她做了自己应该做的事。利比自己后来免除了米勒的保密誓言，在此之前她守信并坚持了原则。
前《今日美国报》（USA Today）记者托尼•罗西最近（Toni Locy）由于拒绝披露在其所做的关于生化武器科学家斯蒂芬•哈特费尔（Steven Hatfill）的报道中引用的秘密信息来源，联邦法官认为她蔑视法庭。由于政府把哈特费尔列为2001年炭疽袭击事件的“利害关系人”，此人正在起诉政府。前司法部长约翰•阿什克罗夫特曾在一次记者招待会上亲口提到哈特费尔，但是无论政府想建立什么案件，最后都遭到失败，哈特费尔从来没有受到任何指控，他有起诉政府和追诉本人案件的一切权利。哈特费尔的律师认为，要是能迫使罗西打破保密承诺，或许对他们的案子有帮助。他们之所以能在这个问题上施压，原因很简单：他们有能力。在联邦法庭上没有法律能为记者的保密权提供保障，他们对新闻工作者的职业准则不感兴趣，只想赢得案子。哈特费尔的律师们会想办法迫使其它律师放弃“律师——当事人特权” 吗（译者：美国联邦证据规则中第501到第510条集中规定了“律师-当事人特权”，该规则第503条规定：当事人具有可以拒绝公开或者阻止其它人公开为了给当事人提供法律服务而进行的秘密交流内容的特权。这一特权是美国法律的基本准则之一，同在联邦法庭中缺乏法律保障的记者保密权不可同日而语）？他们根本不会去想这种办不到的事。
|PhD - Nanjing University|
|Years of translation experience: 16. Registered at ProZ.com: Jul 2008.|
|Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, SDL TRADOS|
I am a PhD student of Nanjing University, China. I had more than five years of journalistic working experience in newspaper. During work, One of my most important task was to translate English news report into Chinese, and I was responsible for the supervision and revision of the work of other colleagues and freelance translators. In addition to translation, I also have involved in many management areas, including collecting, planning and editing of international and domestic news.
After working in mass media for several years, I returned to Nanjing University for advanced education. I am currently studying the communication theory of international relations, and focus on transnational news media such as Al-Jazeera Television. I expect to receive my Ph. D. degree of History in International Relations later this year from Nanjing University, and am available to work anytime now.
Keywords: News Report, IT, Social Science, Politics, Science, Entertainment, Film
Profile last updated
Jul 5, 2008