Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press
The Reporters Committee for Freedom of Information, "a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing free legal assistance to journalists," has a distinct and unapologetic bias towards the rights and privileges of journalists in gaining access to any information deemed in the public interest. For many reporters, "privacy" has become an over-used concept, particularly regarding the disclosure/concealment of medical or criminal records. This intriguing website posts recent news of freedom of information and freedom of the press cases and challenges in the form of a list of annotated citations--a full page covering just the last two months. The Committee also publishes several guides for journalists, including one on the bounds of medical privacy. Another lengthy report entitled "Homefront Confidential" discusses the limits to information-gathering affected by the USA Patriot Act and other Homeland Security actions (available in PDF format or on the Web at www.rcfp.org/homefrontconfidential). Other publications include the quarterly "The News Media & the Law," and reports on access to electronic records and to juvenile court proceedings, subpoenas issued to journalists, and the issue of secret tribunals. The website also provides a guide to submitting a Freedom of Information Act request. Of equal interest is a significant collection of the Committee's amicus briefs, comments submitted to courts and federal agencies, and letters addressed to the President or federal officials, protesting restrictions on freedom of information, the public's right to know, access to court proceedings, and in particular, limitations placed upon legitimate newsgathering activities. Researchers in favor of increased privacy rights as well as those opposed will want to be familiar with this website.
This website is sponsored by a non-profit organization established in memory of a college student who was murdered in her dorm room after dozens of other violent incidents had occurred on campus but not disclosed by the university. With colleges and universities under pressure to adhere to federal crime-reporting legislation, and an awareness that campus crime is often not reported or publicized, there is increased interest in legal compliance. The News section of the website notes that under the federal Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act, Megan's Law will be extended to college campuses. The "Newswire" contains articles from the national press on recent developments, as well as background on the prevalence of sexual assaults and binge drinking by underage students. Under "Featured Resources" are the text of the Clery Act (PL101-542, named for the above-mentioned slain student), requiring administrators to report crimes to the Justice Department, with its legislative history, a summary in plain language, links to the text of the law, regulations from the Code of Federal Regulations, and proposed and final rules from the Federal Register; campus crime statistics; a sample campus safety audit; and links to the websites of some campus police organizations. The website also offers a newsletter, e-mail updates, and a discussion forum. It can be utilized by any activist, administrator, or concerned parent, bringing the issues together in straightforward language.
The Tribal Law and Policy Institute is a non-profit, Native American-run organization seeking to strengthen the operations of the Tribal Court system and its interaction with the U.S. federal judiciary. The website of the Tribal Court Clearinghouse contains a searchable database (provided by VersusLaw) of some 1300 Tribal Court opinions, memoranda, and orders. A message board, which can be viewed by any visitor to the website, allows people working in Tribal Courts or with cases involving Native Americans to share information and request assistance from others in the field. Also on the site are law review articles on Indian law and jurisdiction, links to relevant federal laws, bills and recent legislation, decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court and Navaho Nation court, and several codes: a model tribal housing code, the Tribal Juvenile Justice Code, and the Tribal Child and Family Protection Code. Much of the content deals with issues of legal jurisdiction; other important areas are child custody, gaming, and tribal identity.
The United Nations Division for Palestinian Rights has gathered an enormous array of full-text UN documents on the Palestinian question and Arab-Israeli conflict. The documents emanate from the General Assembly, Security Council, numerous Commissions, and non-UN bodies such as the World Bank. Reports, resolutions (with voting records), and press releases make up the bulk of the material here, but there is also a great deal of other grey literature. The UNISPAL database is searchable by phrase, title, keyword, thesaurus term, date, and by issuing entity, subject, or document type. Some of the subject headings used include: credentials, house demolitions, holy places, land, settlements, and women. Results can be sorted by date or relevance. Although the website is undated, on the day it was reviewed it contained documents issued that very day. Given the huge number of documents--letters, recommendations, working papers, agreements--and the rather brief subject arrangement, it may be challenging to retrieve a precise piece of documentation. Still, this is an essential resource for materials on the United Nations and the Palestinian cause.
InSITE contributors: A. Carson, J. Pajerek (editor)
©2002 Cornell Law Library
The contents of this publication and any recommendations therein are the opinions of the authors and do not reflect the views of Cornell University.