Friday, August 31, 2007

Legislature urges federal shield law

In a rare unanimous vote, the California Assembly and Senate have passed a resolution calling upon Congress to enact a shield law for America's journalists. The Assembly passed it 74-0 on June 21 and the Senate voted 74-0 to approve it on Monday. [Here is the legislative history.] AJR24 was authored by Assembly members Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, and Mark Leno, D-San Francisco (both pictured).
    “We just sent Washington a unified message to protect a free press,” said Evans (according to California Chronicle). “Without a federal shield law enabling journalists to protect confidential news sources blowing the whistle for the public good, we cannot effectively govern ourselves and exercise the freedoms protected in our Bill of Rights.”

    Said Leno (same source), “Without a federal shield law, we live with a dramatic and chilling effect on our freedom of the press and journalistic integrity in America.”
Forty-nine states and the District of Columbia have either statutory or common law shield protections.

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