ACLU Urges Senate Panel to Rework Reporters’ Shield Legislation, Says Free Flow of Information Vital to Democracy

September 27, 2007 12:00 am

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Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union today urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to amend S. 2035, The Free Flow of Information Act of 2007, during its markup of the bill to give greater protection to reporters and their sources. Raising concern was an exception for national security circumstances in the bill that was broadly written and could be misused in such a way as to nullify any protection afforded a source. The ACLU is asking that the exception be rewritten to allow the press as much freedom as possible when it comes to reporting relevant news to Americans.

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

“Maintaining the unfiltered and relevant flow of information to the American public is a vital part of our democracy. Maintaining a free and unhampered press is as well. Journalists play a constitutionally protected role in our country and have a significant claim on many pieces of our history.

“The balance between our national security and a robust press is delicate, but not as black and white as this administration would like us to believe. In a time when our government uses dubious assertions of executive privilege and claims ‘state secrets’ as often as ‘no comment,’ it is essential that credible stories of national interest are brought to light. The best interests of the press and the best interests of Americans are often the same. Securing both can and should be a priority for Congress.”

To read more about the ACLU’s work on reporters’ shield, go to:

To read the ACLU’s letter to the Senate, go to:/freespeech/gen/31980leg20070926.html

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