RTNDA is among those urging members of the House to support federal shield legislation.
Also supporting the “Free Flow of Information Act” are NAB and the Newspaper Association of America as well as several dozen other media and journalism organizations.
“Although 32 states and the District of Columbia have shield laws and 17 other states have recognized reporters’ privilege as a result of judicial decisions, federal courts currently have no uniform set of standards to govern when testimony may be sought from reporters,” RTNDA stated.
“The legislation provides journalists with a qualified privilege, requiring them to testify to prevent ‘imminent and actual harm’ to national security or ‘imminent death or significant bodily harm’ to individuals. Journalists would also be required to reveal sources if such testimony could identify someone who has disclosed significant trade secrets or certain financial or medical information, or if a compelling case can be made that there is an overriding public interest in the disclosure.
“The legislation also protects information – held by telephone companies, Internet services and other communications providers – that would otherwise reveal confidential sources.”