Protecting Journalism, not Journalists

Over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Morgan Weiland looks at the latest version of the Senate’s federal shield law and points out some of the problems with it.

The big one is simple – journalism is what needs to be protected, not the journalists who commit the acts. All of the proposed legislation right now seems to be aimed at defining who is a journalist based on some old fashioned definition of journalism and journalists, the bills are not taking into account the way information is now being shared and transmitted.

Write the law so that it defines journalism not the creator and this becomes a simpler bill, though it may make more work for courts in the future to parse out what is a journalistic act and what isn’t.

Editorial comment: Once they finish parsing the First Amendment, I hope they take on the Second and define what is a “well regulated militia.”

Mark E. Johnson

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