US House committee approved journalist shield bill

On March 25, 2009, the Judiciary Committee of the US House of Representatives approved legislation that would have limited the government's ability to compel reporters to disclose confidential sources. The Free Flow of Information Act of 2009 would have required parties seeking the identity of confidential sources from reporters in federal court to show that the information relates to an act of terrorism, national security, disclosure of trade secrets, or the imminent risk of death or serious bodily harm. The legislation would have further required the court to be convinced that the party seeking the disclosure has exhausted all other means of acquiring the information, and that "the public interest in compelling disclosure of the information or document involved outweighs the public interest in gathering or disseminating news or information." The legislation was not passed by the full House.

Learn more about laws regulating journalists from the JURIST news archive.


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