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Shield Law To Be Introduced

Legislators will try again to pass a federal shield law.

Reps. Rick Boucher (R-Va.) and Mike Pence (R-Ind.) are teaming Wednesday (May 1) to introduce the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007.

Similar bills have been introduced before, but that was in a Republican-controlled Congress and with opposition from the Bush administration.

The bill "sets criteria which must be met before information can be subpoenaed from reporters in any federal criminal or civil matter," say the representatives, adding that it "carefully balances the public interest in the free flow of information against the public interest in compelled testimony."

The bill looked like it had legs back in 2005, powered by the imprisonment of Judith Miller of the New York Times and subpoenas of reporters who had reported on the Wen Ho Lee espionage case.

Currently, journalists have to rely on Justice Department guidelines that require federal prosecutors to attempt all reasonable alternatives to obtaining information from other sources before issuing subpoenas.