Anyone regularly engaged in "journalism," which would seem to include some bloggers, wouldn't generally be forced to divulge confidential sources in federal cases under a bill approved Thursday by a U.S. Senate committee.

By a 15-2 vote, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee backed an amended version of the so-called Free Flow of Information Act. Sens. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) cast the "no" votes.

Some form of "reporter's privilege," either through laws or court decisions, already exists in 49 states and the District of Columbia. This bill would extend that protection to federal cases, shielding anyone engaged in the practice of "journalism"--with a number of exceptions, naturally--from being forced to give up confidential information or provide testimony.

The term "journalism" clearly would sweep up at least some bloggers because the bill defines it thusly: "the regular gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public."

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2 comments
  1. Mike Scott October 6, 2007 at 8:46 AM  

    There was such a big stink when that blogger was sent to jail, and some reporters said that bloggers shouldn't be considered journalists.

    I think the government needing to decide is kind of strange, isn't this the USA? If you consider yourself a journalist, then that should be enough.

    Heck, maybe now they need to decide what a blogger is.

  2. steven wilson October 6, 2007 at 9:11 AM  

    Hi Mike
    You are right on that.I have read many blogs that I would consider the blogger to be a much better journalist than some that hold that title.

    Steven

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