New bill to give bloggers same shield law protection as jour

The House of Representatives has amended the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007 to include provisions to protect bloggers from being required to divulge their sources under certain situations in the same way as journalists. Instead of requiring journalists to be tied to a news organization, the bill now defines "journalism" to focus more on the function of the job: "the 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."

Introduced last week by Representative Rick Boucher (D-VA), the bill is meant to offer a federal version of reporter "shield" laws that are in place in some 32 states in the US. Legislation at state level has struggled in the past to determine exactly how to define journalism, with bloggers who don't often write for traditional news organizations finding themselves in a murky gray area. However, in 2006, a California court ruled in favor of two rumor sites (often considered "blogs" )—AppleInsider and Powerpage—after they divulged details about unreleased Apple products. The ruling concluded that there was no relevant legal distinction between journalistic blogging and journalism when it came to the shield law.

Link: Forum Discussion (Thanks Al)
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News source: Ars Technica

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