Thursday, May 12, 2005

As a CITIZEN JOURNALIST, I want equal protection!

Representative Rick Boucher wrote an interesting column for yesterday's Roanoke Times; it is entitled "Press needs a shield law to fulfill its role." The column is on the commentary page of the hardcopy, but I'll be d*mned if I can find it online. Anyway, the key sentences are:

...31 states and the District of Columbia have enacted statutes that protect reporters from the compelled disclosure of their information sources. The absence of similar protection at the federal level is striking.

To provide the federal response, my colleague Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., and I have introduced the Free Flow of Information Act in Congress. Senator Richard Lugar, R.-Ind, and Christopher Dodd, D-Conn, have introduced an identical bill in the Senate. We propose to set strict limits on the ability of the Justice Department or a private party to subpoena a reporter in a federal case.

We'll have to see if the legislation sets out just how a court determines who's a "reporter" and who's just a "hack." I'll go with the folks with pajamas and laptops.