House Passes Law Protecting Journalists Sources

Source: San Francisco Chronicle

In spite of the Bush Adminstration warning that it will harm national security, The House of Representatives Tuesday passed a federal law that will protect reporters from having to reveal their sources for news stories. The measure passed 398-21, with all Democrats and 179 Republicans crossing the line to agree on the bill.

"Compelling reporters to testify and, in particular, compelling them to reveal
the identity of confidential sources is a detriment to the public interest,"
said Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., one of the bill's chief sponsors. "Without the
promise of confidentiality, many important conduits of information about our
government will be shut down."

Which seems to be the way the Bush Adminstration wants it. Ya' ever notice that whenever Bush and Co. don't get their way, they threaten that national security is in jeopardy?

Its a broad step towards real, actual freedom of speech. However, according to the Chronicle article, this law only protects mainstream journalists. Bloggers - considred by many to be the red-headed stepchild of the media - would not be covered:

Lawmakers added language that says those covered by the act must regularly
report the news and earn a substantial portion of their livelihood from
journalism. It's not clear whether it would cover San Francisco blogger Josh
Wolf, who spent 226 days in jail for refusing to turn over video of a protest by
anarchists - even though he did benefit financially by selling portions of his
tape to a local TV station.

Pence said the law's new definition "will exclude casual bloggers - but not
all bloggers - criminal offenders or the media wings of terrorist groups."

I wonder how they would consider Media Morgue. We are far from a casual blogger. But then we (usually) dont publish anything too seditious.

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