Shield Law Gets Hill Push

A nonpartisan mix of representatives and senators will hold a press conference Thursday to call for immediate passage of a federal shield law for journalists.

Senators Dick Lugar (R-IN) and Chris Dodd (D-CT), will join with Representatives Mike Pence (R-IN) and Rick Boucher (D-VA) to call for passage of the Free Flow of Information Act, which was introduced by Pence and Boucher in February.

Pointing to the 30 journalists they saw are threatened with jail or fines for refusing to reveal their sources, the group argues that it is "imperative to pass the media shield law and five reporters the same protections that afforded the clergy, attorneys, and doctors.

The act would codify existing DOJ guidelines for issuing subpoenas to the news media, essentially turning suggestions into mandates.

"In doing so," they argue,"this legislation strikes a balance between the public's need for information and the fair administration of justice."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.