ACLU Hails Reporter Shield Legislation

May 2, 2007 12:00 am

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WASHINGTON – The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded Congressman Rick Boucher (D-VA) for introducing the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007. The proposed bill helps ensure the government is open to public scrutiny by protecting journalists’ access to confidential sources. It also prevents government officials from chilling those sources by preventing their disclosure unless 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:

“Freedom of the press is fundamental to our nation’s identity and should be fiercely protected. From Watergate to the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, revelations of historic consequences are the product of a free and unrestricted press. At a time when those in power hide behind the phrase ‘state secret’ instead of ‘no comment,’ journalists should be commended for continuing to push beyond the hyperbole.

“The state of our democracy is in peril when reporters are threatened with prosecution for treason and imprisonment and subpoenas are used as intimidation tactics. Americans found out about our government’s use of rendition only through intrepid reporting. Journalists cannot maintain their independence without access to information from confidential sources. Congressman Boucher has introduced a sensible and laudable bill that strikes the balance between the public interest in the free flow of information and legitimate national security concerns.”

To read the ACLU’s report on the need for a Reporters’ Shield Law, go to:
/freespeech/gen/29028pub20070314.html

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