08.09.2007 03:31 PM
House Judiciary Committee approves federal shield law; bill moves to full House

The House Judiciary Committee Aug. 1 approved a federal shield law to protect journalists from being forced to disclose their confidential sources.

The vote sends H.R. 2102, the Free Flow of Information Act, to the full House of Representatives for approval. Currently, 33 states and the District of Columbia have similar shield laws and 17 other states have recognized reporter’s privilege as a result of judicial decisions.

Reps. Rick Boucher, D-VA; John Conyers, D-MI; Mike Pence, R-IN; Howard Coble, R-NC; and John Yarmuth, D-KY; in the House, and Sens. Richard Lugar, R-IN, and Christopher Dodd, D-CT, in the Senate are sponsoring the legislation. A similar bill in the Senate (S. 1267) is pending action.

The RTNDA applauded the committee’s approval of the bill, which association president Barbara Cochran called a “message that we should make every effort to safeguard journalists’ ability to gather important information for the public from confidential sources.”

The RTNDA is a member of a coalition of 40 media companies and journalistic organizations that advocate a federal shield law.

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