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Apple bloggers get press support

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In March, Apple won the right to see the bloggers' e-mail records to find out who leaked information on upcoming products to them, which they published.

The news organisations have now filed a court brief which says they should be allowed to protect their sources.

If not, they said, it could make journalists wary of publishing stories which are in the public interest.

Sources who give journalists details of corruption or wrongdoing are traditionally protected by law, if the story is in the public's interest.

"Recent corporate scandals involving WorldCom, Enron and the tobacco industry all undoubtedly involved the reporting of information that the companies involved would have preferred to remain unknown to the public," said the brief.

Dave Tomlin, assistant general counsel for the AP news agency, said the case had potential implications journalists of all kinds.

"For us, this case is about whether the First Amendment protects journalists from being turned into informants for the government, the courts or anybody else who wants to use them that way," Mr Tomlin said.

"We believe strongly that it does, and that it's a good thing for all of us that journalists have this protection."

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