May 21, 2013 / 7:58 PM / 5 years ago

Obama against prosecuting reporters for doing their jobs: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama believes firmly in freedom of the press and does not want journalists to be prosecuted for doing their jobs, the White House said on Tuesday, responding to criticism about his administration’s investigations of leaks to reporters.

U.S. President Barack Obama listens while meeting with Myanmar's President Thein Sein in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington May 20, 2013. REUTERS/Larry Downing

The Department of Justice seized Associated Press phone records as part of a probe into leaks about a 2012 Yemen-based plot to bomb a U.S. airliner. And most recently, the Washington Post reported that Fox News correspondent James Rosen had been named a “co-conspirator” in a federal leaks probe involving his reporting on North Korea.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Tuesday he could not comment on specific cases, but noted broadly that Obama believed in the need for balance between national security concerns and the ability of reporters to work freely.

“If you’re asking me whether the president believes that journalists should be prosecuted for doing their jobs, the answer is no,” he said.

Carney is a former reporter for Time Magazine.

Obama said last week he made “no apologies” for his concern about leaks to the media that could compromise U.S. national security or put American military and intelligence officers at risk.

Reporting by Jeff Mason; Editing by Paul Simao

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