The question before the court is whether Hale, who operated a website she claimed was intended for investigative reporting on issues of public importance and who posted information about plaintiffs on another website’s bulletin board, a journalist entitled to the protections of New Jersey’s Shield Law and the First Amendment?
Hale, a Washington state resident, was sued by Too Much Media over statements she posted on Oprano.com, accusing the company of fraud and "illegal and unethical use of technology," violating New Jersey's Identity Theft Protection Act.
Hale called herself a journalist and subject to New Jersey’s Shield Law when she was gathering information about an Internet security breach at the company. Hale posted on a website that Too Much Media failed to inform customers of a security breach because she alleged it was making money off of it.
Last April, an appellate division judge affirmed an earlier court ruling that the state’s shield law doesn’t apply to Hale and that she would have to disclose the identity of her sources at a deposition.
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