Senate Has Votes to Pass Law Shielding Corporate Journalists
Legislation may soon put damper on alternative media
March 21, 2014
New Democrat Senator Chuck Schumer said today the Senate has the votes to pass a bill that will protect corporate journalists from court issued demands to reveal their sources. The White House, Democrats and Independents and five Republicans in the Senate support passing the legislation.
The law will protect “covered” journalists defined as an employee, independent contractor or agent of an entity that disseminates news or information, according to the Associated Press.
In other words, if this law is enacted, citizen journalists and bloggers not affiliated with corporations may be subpoenaed and forced by law to reveal sources.
The First Amendment does not explicitly protect journalists. However, by the 1970s, most states had shield laws in place to protect journalists from revealing their sources and going to jail for failure to do so.
However, with the rise of the internet journalism outside the controlled arena of establishment and corporate media, the government began to consider making a distinction between citizen journalists and “official” and “professional” journalists.
If passed, there will be two standards for journalism in the United States. Citizen journalists and bloggers will be held to one standard and corporatist media journalists will be held to another. The former may go to prison if they attempt to protect sources from government intimidation and legal action.