ACLU Encourages Free Flow of Information To Journalists

June 14, 2007 12:00 am

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, June 14, 2007

Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) commended the House Judiciary Committee as it considered legislation that would protect the First Amendment. Congressmen Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Mike Pence (R-IN) introduced the legislation, called Free Flow of Information Act, in May to protect journalists from having to reveal their confidential sources. Though the bill would protect journalists from subpoenas, it also includes a narrow exception that would allow a reporter to be compelled to reveal a source if there is an actual and imminent danger to national security or public safety.

The following can be attributed to Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“An independent and active press is a bedrock element of our country’s democracy. The press must be able to function free from government intrusion or intimidation. Government sets a dangerous precedent when they threaten reporters with subpoenas and prosecution simply for doing their job.

“This is even more crucial now. We would be shamefully in the dark when it comes to this executive branch’s abuse of power if it weren’t for sources whose anonymity could be guaranteed. Revelations of the administration’s domestic spying program, torture and rendition only came to light through a free and open press. The tide of history can change in one conversation between a reporter and a source. We should be doing everything we can to protect that relationship.”

To read the ACLU’s report on the need for a Reporters’ Shield Law, go to:

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