2015 年 86 巻 p. 83-102
This study aims to examine the influence of the Espionage Act of 1917 on freedom of the press in the United States. This article consists of the following sections. The first section introduces the outline of the system for classifying state secrets and the Espionage Act. The second section presents problems in the Espionage Act regarding freedom of the press. The third section provides cases that show the tendency to broadly apply the Espionage Act. The last section considers the strict control of access to information under the Espionage Act by the Obama administration. This study concludes that the Espionage Act has had a damaging effect on freedom of the press for the following reasons. Prosecuting people who divulge information brings about the chilling effect of furnishing the information. Government officials are increasingly afraid to talk to journalists. This situation is especially serious in the Obama administration compared with all previous U.S. administrations because of the aggressive prosecution of people who have divulged classified information. Although the Justice Department has never prosecuted journalists for violating the Espionage Act, there are dangerous attempts to prosecute individuals who act like journalists. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against a journalist forced to reveal his source who disclosed information illegally. Laws and systems for protecting state secrets in which provisions are ambiguous and interpretations thereof are arbitrary infringe on civil liberties. Moreover, broad electronic information surveillance also deters sources from providing information to journalists. These problems occur not only in the United States but in Japan also. Because the Special Secrecy Law in Japan has no regard for the people's right to know, conditions in Japan will worsen with the enforcement of this law.