Thursday, July 21, 2005


FIRST AMENDMENT: Should bloggers benefit from federal shield law?

Original Source: Anne Broache, CNET

Senate panel explores giving reporters' shield to bloggers

Certain bloggers may deserve the same privileges as professional reporters, panelists suggested Wednesday at a U.S. Senate hearing about a proposed media "shield" law. . . . The Senate shield law bill and the House version cover those entities that publish newspapers, books, magazines and periodicals "in print or electronic form" and their broadcast and wire-service counterparts. But Wednesday's hearing--just a small fraction of which addressed the issue of blogging--demonstrated that the implications for bloggers remain unclear.

"The fact is that there are new and different types of people reporting and making information available to anyone around the world," Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said at the two-and-a-half hour hearing. "Would you extend this privilege to a blogger?" he asked a six-member panel composed of journalists and First Amendment lawyers. "I don't think journalism should profess to be a profession," said longtime New York Times political columnist William Saffire. "I think the lonely pamphleteer has the same rights as The New York Times."

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