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S 987, Free Flow of Information Act, passed by Senate Judiciary Committee


By now you hopefully have heard the very encouraging news that the Senate Judiciary Committee passed S 987, the Free Flow of Information Act. Perhaps you've seen the statement by ASNE President David Boardman commending the Judiciary Committee on its vote. From our perspective, the vote could scarcely have gone better, as the one amendment put forth in the Sept. 12 markup session involved the already brokered compromise on the definition of a covered party that can invoke the bill. 

 

But this is no time to rest on our laurels. We've actually reached this point -- passage of a potential federal shield law by the Senate Judiciary Committee -- once before. It's time to enter uncharted territory by actually getting this bill to the Senate floor. Again, we turn to you for help. 

Encourage your congressperson to support Free Flow of Information Act


Two versions of the Free Flow of Information Act have now been introduced in Congress, each with bipartisan support. HR 987 was introduced by Representatives Ted Poe (R-Texas), John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Trey Radel (R-Fla.), and S 1962 was introduced by Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.). Although there are slight differences between the two, either bill would create a much-needed federal "shield" law that would offer, for the first time, a statutory reporter's privilege that could be invoked when federal authorities seek information, including the identity of a source, from a reporter engaged in newsgathering activities. ASNE would be more than happy to see either bill enacted into law. 

Salt Lake Tribune — U.S. needs reporter shield law to keep the whistles blowing

The Salt Lake Tribune
October 9, 2010

By Joe Campbell

The passage of a bill that will give journalists a shield from revealing confidential sources under federal law has never been closer to a presidential signature, and Congress shouldn't let this opportunity pass.

Daily Review — Federal shield law would compliment the First Amendment

The Daily Review, Towanda, Pa.
September 20, 2010

Pennsylvania's "shield" law is among the nation's best. It provides journalists with a valuable tool with which to inform the public about its government. The law enables reporters to use anonymous sources, which is rare, and to gain access to government information without revealing its sources in court.

REPUBLICAN & Herald — Federal shield law no-brainer

REPUBLICAN & Herald, Pottsville, Pa.
September 25, 2010

Pennsylvania's "shield" law is among the nation's best. It provides journalists with a valuable tool with which to inform the public about its government. The law enables reporters to use anonymous sources, which is rare, and to gain access to government information without revealing its sources in court.

Lancaster New Era — Swift action urged on federal Shield Law

Lancaster News Era
September 8, 2010

As summer gives way to fall, the public's attention is turning to November's midterm congressional elections.

The election campaign is crucial to the democratic process, of course. But this year, it could divert attention away from legislation of equal significance to a free republic the federal Free Flow of Information Act, commonly known as the Shield Law.

Dallas Morning News — Shield law passage good for democracy

The Dallas Morning News
September 3, 2010

Just as the path seemed to clear somewhat for a federal shield law for journalists, Wikileaks went and complicated matters.

The proposed shield law, aka the Free Flow of Information Act, would give journalists qualified protection against fishing expeditions by federal prosecutors who want names of confidential sources. The bill defends the free-press vision embodied in the Constitution, and similar protections are now the law in 49 states.

Grand Rapids Press — Congress should finally pass a shield law to protect confidential sources

The Grand Rapids (Mich.) Press
August 31, 2010

When the U.S. Senate returns to work in a couple weeks, one item should be on top of the agenda: Finally passing a shield law for reporters.

Daily Camera — The need for a shield law

Daily Camera, Boulder, Colo.
August 29, 2010

Free press relies on protecting sources

We`ve been urging the full Congress to pass a federal media shield law for years. The time is now. A shield law would create consistent rules for judges at every level in every state to ensure that the public`s right to be informed is protected.

Modesto Bee — U.S. should shield all its journalists

The Modesto (Calif.) Bee
August 29, 2010

"Congress shall make no law … abridging freedom of speech, or of the press. …" This simple passage in the Bill of Rights allows for citizen oversight of our government and holds our elected and appointed representatives accountable through the watchdog efforts of our nation's news media.

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