NAB, CBS Among Supporters Of Proposed Federal Shield Law
May 21, 2013 at 4:37 AM (PT)
The NAB and CBS are among the supporters of the latest attempt in Congress to pass a federal shield law to prevent reporters from being compelled by the government or courts to reveal confidential sources. "The Free Flow of Information Act of 2013" (H.R. 1962) was unveiled by Reps. TED POE (R-TX), TREY RADEL (R-FL), and JOHN CONYERS, JR. (D-MI). Previous versions passed the House in the 110th and 111th Congress but did not survive the Senate.
“Democracy cannot exist without a free press," said POE. “A free press provides critical information to the public, including information about the activity of the federal government. The media’s ability to deliver the news provides a crucial check on government power. Maintaining confidentiality of sources is critical to ensuring the free flow of information without government interference.”
“As someone who worked as a journalist for almost 20 years, this issue is close to my heart,” said Rep. RADEL. ‘We need to protect every American’s right to free speech which is so often and in so many different ways carried out through freedom of the press. American’s should not fear a heavy handed government when they want to speak out on an injustice, be a whistleblower or shine light where there is darkness. This legislation ensures we protect freedom of the press and your right to free speech.”
“Freedom of the Press is a foundational freedom upon which all of our other freedoms and liberties are based and protected,” said Rep. CONYERS. “Given that 49 out of 50 states and the DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA have special legal protections for the press, it is long past time that our federal government provides similar protections. I look forward to working with Rep. POE and my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on this vital matter.”
NAB President and CEO GORDON SMITH said, "NAB strongly supports the 'Free Flow of Information Act.'. As broadcasters, we believe there is nothing more vital to preserving a vibrant democracy than the First Amendment and the freedoms afforded journalists in keeping citizens informed. We urge swift passage of this bill."