CT Provides Protection to Journalists

Do you write for a newspaper? A Magazine? A blog? CT has got you covered. The house said YEA! to free speech today. Gov. M. Jodi Rell will sign the bill very soon making CT one of 31 states which has “enacted laws that prevent prosecution of reporters for not revealing their sources.”

If there is a source out there that would like to chat up some CT gossip… I’m listening.
Original Link
May 04 2006 8:11 AM
House gives final passage to shield bill
Proposal provides media protection

By Fred Lucas THE NEWS-TIMES
HARTFORD — Although politicians and journalists are rarely seen on the same side of anything, it took the state legislature on the last day of this year’s session to give reporters the legal right to protect their sources.

The House gave final passage to a shield law bill, voting 136-11 to support the bill. The Senate had passed the law unanimously earlier Wednesday.

“This protects free speech and recognizes that the press does a service for the public and should be afforded, albeit limited, extra protection,” said Rep. John Frey, R-Ridgefield.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell has indicated she will sign the bill.

The bill would prevent a reporter from facing legal penalties, such as contempt of court, if he or she does not disclose the name of a news source to government authorities.

The bill defines a reporter as someone who works for a newspaper, magazine, radio or television station, or electronic media. The Senate had considered excluding blog writers and limiting protections to people with journalism degrees, but later removed both provisions.

Connecticut would join 31 states and Washington, D.C., which already enacted laws that prevent prosecution of reporters for not revealing their sources.

But the bill would make reporters a privileged class and apparently would protect even people who reveal confidential information on Internet blogs or in newsletters, said Rep. Robert Farr, R-West Hartford.

“People rely on the Drudge Report for information, and there are blogs with unknown authors,” Farr said. “We are creating a privileged class and this class is poorly defined.”

Lawmakers, however, looked to recent cases in which reporters were penalized for protecting their sources. Rhode Island TV reporter Jim Taricani championed the bill after he spent four months in home confinement last year for refusing to disclose a source.

Also, the imprisonment last year of then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller for refusing to name a source to a federal grand jury stirred discussion on the matter.

During the legislative impeachment probe of Gov. John G. Rowland, members of the impeachment committee pondered subpoenaing reporters, but opted not to, said Rep. Arthur O’Neill, R-Southbury, who was co-chairman of the committee. He thought it was improper to call journalists to testify.

“Right from the beginning, I said no,” O’Neill said. “What helped this is a growing concern that such restraint won’t continue, particularly as legislators are getting the urge to investigate.”

O’Neill cited the upcoming legislative hearings investigating fundraising practices by Gov. M. Jodi Rell’s campaign as an example.

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