Do reporters need to see child pornography to write about it?
Instead, the conversation came to a screeching halt.
(An affirmative defense is one that does not deny the truth of the allegations against the defendant but gives some other reason why the defendant cannot be held liable.)
“It is still very risky for journalists today to receive and transmit, during their investigation of a story or a report, images of child pornography. The Matthews case makes this clear in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, and the general line of Supreme Court precedent is that journalists are not exempt from generally applicable laws that apply equally to all citizens. Clearly child pornography statutes are such laws of general applicability, so journalists take a risk today when investigating child pornography as they come across it on the Web, even with the exception spelled out in the federal statute pertaining to destruction of the images and reporting the matter to law enforcement officials. That defense under federal statute [18 U.S.C. 2252A (d)] only applies, by its terms, to the possession of ‘less than three images of child pornography.’ In other words, basically a journalist would be allowed under this defense to only possess two images, and that’s not a lot of content to look at for a full-blown investigative article.”