In Wake Of AP Scandal, Obama Admin Pushes ‘Media Shield’ Legislation To Protect Reporters

In the midst of the controversy of the Justice Department’s decision to seize phone records of reporters from the Associated Press, the Obama administration is reportedly taking action to revive the “media shield” bill that previously died in the Senate in 2009.

The New York TimesCharlie Savage reports that a White House official told him “that President Obama’s Senate liaison, Ed Pagano, called Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who is a chief proponent of a so-called media shield law, on Wednesday morning and asked him to reintroduce a bill that he had pushed in 2009.”

When the bill was first proposed, the Times‘ Caucus blog described it as such:

“Under the proposed agreement, a so-called media shield law would allow federal judges to quash subpoenas against reporters if they determine that the public interest in the news outweighed the government’s need to uncover the leaker – including, in some circumstances, disclosures of classified national security information.”

Because, in the case of the AP seizure, the organization and its reporters were not warned in advance that subpoenas had been issued, it does not appear that this type of legislation would have protected their sources and information.

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