The journalism group says the Senate Judiciary Committee’s action ” is the first step towards victory for freedom of the press and the public’s right to know.”
After months of urging the Senate Judiciary Committee to take action and vote on the Free Flow of Information Act, the Radio Television Digital News Association said it is celebrating passage in the Senate Judiciary Committee of the Federal Shield Law bill Thursday.
“Committee passage of this Federal Shield Law is the first step towards victory for freedom of the press and the public’s right to know,” said RTDNA Chairman Stacey Woelfel. “This association has been behind a Federal Shield Law for many years. I’m very excited to see it move this much closer to becoming a reality.”
RTDNA said that a federal shield law would help journalists protect confidential sources in a federal court. Since 2001, a total of six journalists have been sentenced or jailed for refusing to give up their sources in a federal setting. Most states have a shield law already in place, but federal lawmakers have been reluctant to grant the same protection for the press from federal subpoenas and other actions.
“Countless important stories have been possible because of the protections the states offer with their shield laws,” Woelfel said. “The leadership of RTDNA strongly believes in a federal shield law to offer the same protections, and we urge full passage now that the bill has reached the Senate floor.”