Anchor restraining order upheld

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A Florida court Thursday affirmed its earlier order that WFLA-TV Tampa, Fla.,
reporter Steve Andrews must stay at least 300 feet away from the subject of a
story he is pursuing.

There will be a hearing next week to determine whether the temporary
injunction, granted under the state's stalking statute, will become
permanent.

Minh Ben Ross -- who was a subject in Andrews' stories about court treatment of
repeat drunk-driving offenders -- complained that Andrews was stalking him.

Andrews says he merely asked questions of Ross or his attorney on two
occasions, and his behavior did not approach stalking.

But in granting the temporary injunction, the court apparently rejected
WFLA-TV's contention that Andrews' approaches to Ross fell under the statute's
exception for legitimate and constitutionally protected behavior.

Media attorneys worry that stalking statutes could become tools against
reporters.

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