Posted by Susan Nourse
Members of Senate panels are refining the details of the Media Shield Act before the bill goes on the full Senate. The Act offers protection for Journalists, so they won’t have to reveal their confidential sources. Those refining details include defining who is a journalist and who isn’t.
Who is considered a journalist
- Journalists who have been employed for one year within the past 20
- Journalists employed for three months within the past 5 years
- Freelance journalists with a “substantial track record”
- Student journalists
Who isn’t considered a journalist
- Groups not considered news outlets by the Senate (i.e WikiLeaks)
Journalists have often faced prison time when choosing not to reveal their confidential sources, being named co-conspirators.This bill could be great step in moving to protect journalists from the Justice Department violating the freedom of the press, but is defining what a journalist is a step in the wrong direction?
The bill doesn’t offer absolute protection. A journalist must reveal the sources if it is a matter of national security.
The bill won’t provide protection for regular American citizens, or any media outlet that is not considered news by the government. Congress could be giving more protection to news outlets that it deems are worthy. Doesn’t the freedom of the press apply to all American citizens?
Does the good this act provide out way the bad? Should protection be provided for everyone or reserved for those who write news stories at “credible” media outlets?
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