December 11, 2009

Shield Law to Include Citizens?

Will citizens get a shield law?

We’re a step closer today after the Senate judiciary committee cleared its version of shield law to allow reporters to protect confidential sources. According to a report published on the Huffington Post:

The bill uses a broad definition of journalists by including bloggers, citizen journalists and freelancers.

Citizens should only support a shield law bill to the extent that it protects certain acts of journalism and not simply journalists who work for news organizations and earn a paycheck. The reason: Journalists have First Amendment rights because they are citizens, not because they are journalists.

A shield law that protects only professionals (i.e. they get a paycheck) would create a special constituency for the First Amendment — something never intended by the word “press,” which refers, metaphorically, to printed matter that we all have the right to produce and distribute.

One Response

  1. Tim 

    Well said, Andy! I hope a “citizen-friendly” version of the bill passes, if one passes.