Obama Admin Looks to Revive Bill for Greater Media Protection in Wake of AP Controversy
May 16, 2013 1:47 PM
comment(s) - last by
The Freedom Flow of Information Act would protect journalists from punishment if they decline to identify confidential sources in federal law enforcement proceedings
The Obama administration wants to create a
federal media shield
law by bringing an old bill back to life.
Ed Pagano, President Obama’s Senate liaison, called Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) on Wednesday morning to inquire about a version of a 2009 bill called the Freedom Flow of Information Act.
The Freedom Flow of Information Act would protect journalists from punishment if they decline to identify confidential sources in federal law enforcement proceedings. It would also allow journalists to ask a federal judge to destroy subpoenas for their phone records.
The bill would provide different levels of protection for journalists. Civil cases would receive the greatest protection, criminal cases would be similar (except the reporter would have to try and abolish the subpoena through a “clear and convincing” standard showing that the free flow of information is more important than the needs of law enforcement) and national security cases would lean in favor of the government.
There were a couple of different versions of the bill, but the Obama administration is looking to recover the one supported by Schumer. It was jointly created by the newspaper industry and the White House, and even approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a bipartisan 15-to-4 vote in December 2009. However, issues with Wikileaks exposing confidential government information on the internet put the bill on hold.
President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder
The decision to bring this bill back to life comes amid controversy surrounding the U.S. Department of Justice's (DOJ)
subpoena to retrieve calling records
of Associated Press reporters.
DOJ used a subpoena (approved by Deputy James M. Cole) to obtain over 20 phone numbers from the Associated Press, including personal phones of AP editors/columnists and AP business phone numbers in New York; Hartford, Connecticut; and Washington.
Furthermore, the DOJ did this without any advance notice. This puts the Associated Press' other private sources at risk and violates freedom of the press.
The reason for the subpoena was related to an article in which an unnamed government official leaked an account of a failed May 2012 bomb plot on an aircraft flying into the U.S. -- which involved the Yemen branch of Al Qaeda.
“This kind of law would balance national security needs against the public’s right to the free flow of information," said Schumer in regards to the Freedom Flow of Information Act. "At minimum, our bill would have ensured a fairer, more deliberate process in this case.”
The New York Times
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
5/16/2013 4:28:29 PM
The responsibility of keeping confidential material confidential falls on the AP. Many methods of secure communication exist and are not that difficult to implement.
Why doesn't AP just go download the Ostel source and setup their own secure voice network?
RE: Simpler solutions
5/16/2013 5:34:17 PM
I'd say that confidential information is the responsibility of the agency that has it to start with. If their security is so poor that they have leaks, then there needs to be an internal investigation long before laying blame on the media. There are many instances where things are classified when they shouldn't be and the media does have the responsibility to call the government out on it.
RE: Simpler solutions
5/18/2013 2:11:56 PM
The gov't didn't need to know what was said in the phone calls, just who the AP was calling to determine who might be leaking. So the gov't just set up a dragnet on the AP to find out.
"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken
Obama's DOJ Caught Spying on Associated Press in Hunt for Leakers
May 14, 2013, 8:44 AM
Quick Note: Drone Loses Fight to the Death With Kangaroo
December 23, 2014, 3:28 PM
Campbell's Monkeys Found to Use Different Dialects to Describe Local Threats
December 22, 2014, 3:52 PM
Scientist Confirm Men are More Likely to Die in "Idiotic" Ways
December 17, 2014, 1:07 PM
Shoppers Surprised to Find Cards Against Humanity's Bullsh*t is Real Feces
December 16, 2014, 11:14 PM
Air Force Worries Hot Fuel Could Harm F-35, "Proactively" Paints Trucks Shiny
December 11, 2014, 9:06 AM
McDonald's is Testing Tablet-Based Burger Customization at 30 Franchises
December 10, 2014, 11:30 AM
Most Popular Articles
Miyamoto: Nintendo is Prepping Successor to Troubled Wii U
December 22, 2014, 6:28 PM
Amazon's Kindle Fire HDX 8.9 Drops to $299 (30 Percent Off) for a Day
December 22, 2014, 10:57 AM
Android-Powered BLU Studio 7.0 Claims to be the "World's Largest Smartphone"
December 19, 2014, 2:40 PM
Airbus A350 XWB Passenger Jet Takes Off, First Unit Delivered to Qatar Airlines
December 22, 2014, 1:22 PM
Mississippi AG Drops Anti-Google Subpoena After Dirty MPAA Ties Are Revealed
December 22, 2014, 9:51 AM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information