Despite Progress, White House Still Opposes Federal Shield Law

june 19, 2007  11:03 am
Last week, at the House Judiciary Committee's first hearing on HR 2102, the Federal Shield Law, a Justice Department official reiterated the Bush administration's position against such a bill, the AP reports. "History has demonstrated that the protections already in place, including the department's own rigorous internal review of media subpoena requests, are sufficient," Assistant Attorney General Rachel Brand told the Judiciary Committee. Free press advocates, including New York Times columnist William Safire, testified on behalf of the bill. "The movement to force journalists to reveal their sources is an attempt to turn the press into an arm of the law," Safire said. The AP reports that a major sticking point remains the legislation's definition of "journalist," which now includes bloggers. Spokespeople for House and Senate Democratic leaders say they like the bill but have no plans to advance it, according to the AP. Currently, 32 states and the District of Columbia have shield laws in place. AAN is a member of an alliance of over 40 media companies and professional organizations that has issued statements of support for the legislation.