Privacy: Media split on proposed shield law

Newspaper association supports bill to protect journalists, sources

USAToday reports: “As recent events have clearly demonstrated, it is essential to protect both the freedom of the press and our national security through a balanced law that applies across all federal circuits, said Newspaper Association of America President and CEO Caroline Little. “This bill will preserve the integrity of the news gathering process while still ensuring effective law enforcement.”

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Concern rises over who is protected under ‘shield’ bill

Politico reports: Jason Stverak, publisher of, doesn’t like the way the legislation limits the definition of a journalist. “An amendment attached to the bill does the very thing the legislation purports to stop: Rather than providing a “shield” so that the government cannot force those who do journalism to reveal confidential sources, it determines who is and is not legally a journalist, offering protection only for those who fit a too-narrow definition of the term,” he said.

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Shield law isn’t perfect, but it’s a start

US News reports: “There are a lot of journalists who are opposed to this shield law, they don’t think it’s good enough, they think it’s watered down and toothless, and in some ways could hurt journalists,” said Society of Professional Journalists President David Cuillier. “I don’t think the shield law is strong enough. [but] it’s as good as we’re going to get initially.”

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How each state protects its  journalists

Forty-eight states and the District of Colombia have some form of a media shield law that protects journalists from revealing their sources. Here is a link to the state’s laws:

How the Free Flow of Information Act reads

The proposed bill passed a Senate committee on Sep. 12 and moved to the Senate floor.  The bill is intended to increase protection to journalists, who are defined by the bill, unless national security as at risk. Here is the bill in its full form:

– Links compiled by Robert Vencil

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