Feldstein, Richard Eaton Chair of Broadcast Journalism at the University of Maryland Philip Merrill College of Journalism, said reporters who receive, verify and publish leaked information are doing a public service and should not be punished.
Exposing corruption and abuses of power, he said, has been a key tenant of journalism for more than 300 years.
“It’s not that we as journalists are somehow a sacrosanct class,” Feldstein said. “It’s that the public needs the information we dig up about malfeasance, about wrongdoing, so that it can be an external check on abuse of authority.”
Feldstein spent 20 years as an award-winning on-air investigative correspondent at CNN, ABC News and various local television stations.
His exposés led to resignations, firings, multi-million dollar fines, and prison terms — and more than 50 journalism awards, including two George Foster Peabody medallions, the Columbia-DuPont baton, the national Edward R. Murrow broadcasting prize and nine regional Emmys.