Press Shield has Holes
In response to the acknowledged abuses of his own Justice Department, President Obama has urged Sen.
We saw a similar response to the horrible
Ah, but proponents of journalist shield laws argue that such regulations actually limit the power of government by protecting the First Amendment rights of the press. But that begs the question. A journalist shield law must define who is a journalist and who isn't.
Part of the problem stems from Durbin's apparent suggestion that the First Amendment protects only a free press. It also protects free speech, free assembly, freedom of worship and the right to petition the government for the redress of grievances. We all have these rights. The
And this is what is wrong with the idea of a federal shield law. One proposed version of the law says a "covered person" is someone who "for financial gain or livelihood, is engaged in journalism." In other words, a journalist is a professional. So, the government gets to decide who's a "real" journalist. That's a horrifying expansion in government authority.
Worse, many judges won't even go that far. For instance, an
So when this newspaper informs its readers about new gadgets or gives sneak peaks at upcoming technologies, that is journalism. But when a moneymaking website does the same thing, not so much.
In 2009, when the Free Flow of Information Act was last under consideration, Durbin and Sen.
Pitts' ire was aimed at figures such as
It will undoubtedly be necessary from time to time for the government to distinguish between the two. But those instances should be exceedingly rare, and they should never hinge on who the government thinks is qualified to be a journalist in the first place.
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Press Shield has Holes | Politics
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