Clint Brewer, President, (615) 301-9229
Alyson Ahrns, SPJ Communications Department, (317) 927-8000, ext. 210
INDIANAPOLIS – SPJ leaders are on Capitol Hill today and Friday to lobby Congress for the passage of a federal shield law.
The contingent is organizing in the nation’s capital to meet with some of the federal shield law’s biggest supporters and some who have yet to give their full backing to the proposed legislation.
The group’s lobbying comes at a most opportune time as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) announced this week that the shield law legislation will come to the floor for a vote before the August recess.
“This trip to Washington is extremely important in accomplishing SPJ’s mission of getting a federal shield law passed,” SPJ President Clint Brewer said. “Being a physical presence on Capitol Hill sends a strong message to Congress that we believe America is not a place where journalists should be compelled to give up their confidential sources.”
More important than protecting reporters, a federal shield law would help protect the identities of those brave enough to come forward with sensitive information. Without the guarantees a federal shield law would provide, people may be less likely to share information vital to a well-informed citizenry. Currently, reporter protection is only available to journalists at the state level.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed its version of a federal shield law (H.R. 2102) in October. The Senate version (S. 2035) also passed out of the Senate Judiciary Committee in October.
To voice your support of a federal shield law, contact your local lawmakers. To contact members of the U.S. House of Representatives, visit House.gov. For a list of U.S. Senate members, visit Senate.gov. To learn more about SPJ’s efforts to pass a federal shield law, please visit SPJ’s federal shield law page.
Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For further information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.