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The need for a federal shield law that protects journalists from having to reveal their anonymous sources is more urgent than ever.
The relentless persecution of government whistleblowers by the Obama administration is drying up sources of vital information.
Many are fearful of communicating with journalists, who increasingly are being forced to divulge their anonymous sources.
I blogged about this in more detail today: Federal law protecting anonymous sources urgently needed

The U.S. Supreme Court has repeatedly declined to recognize a reporter’s privilege in being exempt from disclosing confidential sources. A statutory solution is the only remedy.
The U.S. Senate, which came close to passing a shield law in 2010 got hung up on the issue of who is a journalist?
Senators balked at providing WikiLeaks protection from revealing its sources – and the bill, which had already been approved by the House, died in committee.
It is time to resurrect it.
The New York Times urged this in a July 15 editorial: New Rules Protecting News Media
“Congress should pass a law shielding journalists from government investigators,” the Editorial Board wrote.
It is correct.
The time has come for federal protection for journalists, or the American public will never know what it does NOT know because whistleblowers fear reporters will be compelled to reveal confidential sources.


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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Einsteinia, blueoasis


    by Warren Swil on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 02:57:44 PM PDT

  •  So you would like Judith Miller (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    to be able to shield Scooter Libby, eh?

  •  Absolutely, AND it must include (0+ / 0-)

    bloggers, and pamphleteers ala Thomas Paine.

    We cannot accept a narrow definition of who is a "journalist" as was tried with the accusations of David Gregory and Obama that some people aren't "real" journalists.

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Mon Jul 29, 2013 at 04:25:29 PM PDT

  •  I have trouble with the Shield Laws I've seen (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    proposed, because they always seem to me to be a way for the Government to define (and thus limit) what a journalist, publisher, source is and is not.

    About 2-3 years ago, I did a lot of reading about First Amendment re: journalism/publishers -- this was during WikiLeaks and many were trying to define 'real' journalism/publishing.  The Supreme Court cases I saw analyses of all come down on the side of refusing to allow limitations on those activities -- and any law is shaped by its definitions.

    The versions of Shield Laws I've seen, by defining 'real' vs 'don't count' acts of journalism/publishing, would also allow the Government to allow only 'real' journalists/publishers to have the kind of 'reporter protection' you describe.  This would also allow Government to control 'news' by allowing 'authorized' leaks to 'real' reporters/media.

    I realize we're in a very difficult, critical time regarding these issues, since the DOJ is trying to criminalize reporting, journalism, and publishing as an extension of their war on whistleblowers.

    But the DOJ just recently released definitions of what they consider 'real' publications (like NYT) which would enjoy reporter protections, while bloggers (like, who wrote about these rules) would not be 'real' enough to enjoy those protections.  While these new DOJ rules don't ahve the force of law, they DO have force insofar as they allow DOJ to determine which 'not real enough' reporters/media they will prosecute.

    Do I think journalists should have the right to protect their sources?  Yes, I do.  But please don't give away broad First Amendment protections for narrower safeties.

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