Print 64 comment(s) - last by stmok.. on May 19 at 11:19 AM

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.”

Source: The New York Times

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Damage control
By ven1ger on 5/16/2013 10:16:23 PM , Rating: 2
Do you really know what a Marxist Socialist is? Not sure if you're just spouting words from Fox News or if you really know what it is.

Even I don't really know what a Marxist Socialist is supposed to be, given what Fox News is spouting. What came about in Russia was a twisted version of Karl Marx ideals, otherwise known as Marxist. Most countries that I know of have socialist values, where the strong help the weak, in times of disasters others help the distress, etc., even in the US we have social programs so if you don't like social programs then maybe you're in the wrong country.

Go ahead, please lay down your definition so I can relate to what you're saying.

RE: Damage control
By anactoraaron on 5/16/2013 10:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
"Marxist Socialist"

- Noun. Defined as the current American bogeyman for conservatives. Also see wealth redistribution.

Funny, as wealth redistribution works wonders on all levels of an economic scale and it is vital to the success of any society. It means paying employees (that's a form of wealth redistribution!), which relates to further economic growth.

Back on topic, it's funny to me how Obama has changed his tone about this, funny because he's the one that has been targeting press sources. Now that it's gone public (it has been going on for 5 years) he's there to step in and say "I will create a bill to stop things like this (that I did) from happening again.

Major league hypocrisy from both parties.

"The whole principle [of censorship] is wrong. It's like demanding that grown men live on skim milk because the baby can't have steak." -- Robert Heinlein

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki