Sunday, May 11, 2008

Federal Shield Law

Congress is considering a statute that would protect reporters from having to reveal confidential sources to investigators. The Justice Department opposes the bill, but all three presidential candidates have endorsed it.


The bills to watch are H.R. 2101 (the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007), which passed the House 398-21 in October, and S. 2035, which is before the Senate.

The April 17 Lawyer2Lawyer podcast discussed this topic, with Lucy Dalglish, exec. dir. of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, and Prof. Geoffrey Stone of the University of Chicago.

In his Brotman Professorship Lecture on Thursday, Peter Nicolas urged for greater attention to state law for, among other reasons, the potential for state experience to improve federal law. This seems to be an area where that's possible, since most states already have reporter shield laws. Washington's is RCW 5.68.010.

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