LA Press Club Urges Passage of a Federal Shield Law

Thursday, December 17, 2009 4:14 PM

The Board of the Los Angeles Press Club endorses the Senate Judiciary Committee’s bill to establish a qualified privilege for journalists to protect their confidential sources and the public’s right to know.

The Free Flow of Information Act, S. 448, was voted out of committee earlier this month by a bi-partisan 14-5 vote.

The current version of this “Federal Shield Law” may not give reporters all the protection they need, but it’s an important step in the right direction.

The bill would extend its protection to include bloggers, freelancers and any other person involved in disseminating news and information. All reporters’ telephone records and email used in gathering the news are also protected. However, national security can still be invoked by the government to demand a reporter’s sources.

“After years of debate and countless cases of reporters being held in contempt, fined and even jailed for honoring their professional commitment not to publicly reveal their sources, the time has come to enact a balanced federal shield law,” said committee chairman, Patrick Leahy, (D-Vt).

The Press Club urges Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer to assist in bringing this bill before the full Senate for a successful vote as soon as possible.

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