Senate's Latest Shield Law Brings Back Protection For Participatory Journalists

from the good-news dept

It looks like the Senate has pushed back on the restrictions that the White House wanted on a journalism shield law. Not only does the new Senate version greatly limit the circumstances under which the White House could get around the law, it also goes back to covering amateur/freelance/citizen/participatory journalists as well. The White House had wanted the right to basically claim which stories wouldn't count for shield law protection (meaning journalists would need to give up their sources). But the "compromise" bill from the Senate will only allow this in cases where the government can show (not just say) that the information is needed to prevent terrorism or substantial harm to national security. That seems a lot more reasonable. Of course, this is only the Senate version and the bill very well might change before it gets approved, but at least it's good to see that it doesn't just create a special class of "professional journalists."

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 31st, 2009 @ 4:50am

    Sadly, without a classification of who is and who is not a journalist, it is likely some wanker will try to hide behind it, and get the whole thing tossed out in court later.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. icon
    johnney (profile), Oct 31st, 2009 @ 9:42am

    When are you fucks going to wake up and realize that every single law the govt creates is simply a ruse to control freedom; while they themselves are then exempt from ALL of those same laws??????

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 1st, 2009 @ 9:54am


    Because the government is not immune to all law. The law of the People can, and will, rise against them. Keep looking at the populace as a herd of sheeple. There's a reason the founding fathers left us our guns.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Andrew F (profile), Jan 4th, 2010 @ 11:12am


    I think that's the wrong question. It's not WHO is a journalist but WHAT is journalism -- i.e. the Internet allows anyone to be engaged in a journalism, but not everything that "journalists" do counts as journalism.

    As a general rule, I think that publishing information that better informs the public about what the government should count as protected journalism -- and then we haggle over the exceptions from there.

    The Freedom of Information Act, which deals with the reverse scenario of when the government has to disclose, is set up in this way, and while it doesn't fit perfectly, it's a starting point.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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