DENVER (AP) — Lawmakers on Monday rejected a proposal to increase legal protections for reporters and their sources in Colorado, an idea that was prompted by the case of a New York reporter who was pressured to divulge sources in the 2012 suburban Denver theater shootings. The proposal would have made it harder for reporters […]
New York appeals court rules that Jana Winter gets the benefit of the state’s shield law and won’t have to divulge who leaked her news of James Holmes’ notebook.
ProPublica founder Paul Steiger: “We can’t rest. We need to stand up in stout opposition whenever the First Amendment is challenged at home. We need to speak out, even more vigorously than before, when journalists are abused around the world. We need to keep finding and funding more inventive ways to carry out serious reporting.”
Last week, a Senate panel voted to approve a compromise that defined a journalist, clearing the way for the proposed media shield law to be voted on by the full Senate. But journalists around the country had plenty to say about a law that would exclude some bloggers.
Bloggers across the political spectrum are up in arms over the proposed media shield bill a Senate committee passed on Thursday, blasting the measure’s definition of a journalist as a flawed and misguided effort targeting those who operate outside of traditional media.
The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 13-5 to approve a compromise defining a “covered journalist” as an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information. The action cleared the way for approval of a federal media shield law from the full Senate.
The Senate Judiciary Committee, looking to provide protections for journalists and their sources, ran into a roadblock Thursday when lawmakers couldn’t agree on the definition of “journalist.”
Chuck Schumer and Lindsey Graham have rounded up another bipartisan gang, this time to pass a media shield law that would enact recent Justice Department guidelines. The New York and South Carolina senators have written a new shield bill that protects the media from revealing information and sources during newsgathering and requires courts to “apply a balancing test before compelling disclosure” from journalists. The bill would also require reporters’ be notified within 90 days of their records being reviewed by Justice and require the courts to arbitrate Justice’s media records requests.
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) and Rep. Ted Poe (R-Texas) on the creation of a federal press shield law: “Freedom of the press is enshrined in the First Amendment as a foundational freedom upon which our other freedoms — including speech and privacy — are premised. An unfettered press can inform the public about government abuses that threaten our citizens’ rights. This is not a conservative or liberal principle. It’s an American principle.”
Fox News reporter Jana Winter was subpoenaed in connection with a Colorado hearing about a leak concerning a notebook that Aurora, Colo., theater shooting suspect James Holmes mailed to a psychiatrist before the attack. Winter’s lawyers say the state’s shield laws protect journalists’ sources.
The only way journalists will be protected is if prosecutors stop being so quick to go after them.
The Obama administration would like to see greater protections for reporters who refuse to identify sources, even as officials faced anger over the seizure of Associated Press records.