A federal judge for the Southern District of New York ruled that Fast Company senior news editor Marcus Baram must reveal his confidential source within two weeks.
Shervin Pishevar, a venture capital investor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, filed an application for discovery against Baram in October 2019 in an effort to force him to identify the confidential source of a forged police report that Baram used for an article about Pishevar in 2017.
Baram mentioned the report’s existence in his story after Pishevar confirmed he was arrested, but didn’t rely on the report.
In February, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stewart Aaron ruled that Pishevar failed to show that the information could not be obtained from other sources and did not overcome Baram’s claim of reporter’s privilege. Pishevar filed a motion for reconsideration in March, which Aaron found still failed to show that the source’s identity could not be obtained from other sources.
Pishevar filed a motion to amend and renew his application, submitting multiple affidavits from individuals connected to the incident testifying that they had no knowledge of Baram’s confidential source.
Aaron ruled on Oct. 3 that Pishevar had successfully demonstrated that he had exhausted all other potential avenues of identifying the source and therefore had overcome Baram’s reporter’s privilege. The judge ordered Baram to disclose the name and location of his source within 14 days.
Baram’s attorney, Toby Butterfield, told the U.S. Press Freedom Tracker in an emailed statement, “Mansueto Ventures, the publisher of Fast Company magazine, is deeply troubled by Judge Aaron’s order to its journalist Marcus Baram to reveal the identity of a confidential source.”