Schumer presses for shield law

July 17, 2013 12:00

A bipartisan group of Senators is backing the Free Flow of Information Act, with a renewed push to codify the new guidelines laid out by the Department of Justice following their recent seizure of Associated Press telephone records.

At a news conference in Washington, DC on Wednesday, Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) announced a new effort to pass the legislation, based on his original bill and with possible additional provisions to protect the First Amendment and assist law enforcement. The current Senate bill and House bill are expected to make their way through committees in each chamber in the coming weeks.

As Roll Call reports, the bill's sponsors hope to get the senate version through committee before the August recess. “When you cover political people, it’s okay if we get upset, but it’s not okay if we use the power of the government unfairly against those who cover us,” Graham said. As Politico reports, the bill does not provide an absolute priviledge to journalists, allowing exceptions for information that could prevent terrorist attacks. “Our bill will ensure that any administration, now or later, can’t make a U-turn and abandon these new guidelines,” Schumer said. “We are going to add new provisions to ensure that the proposals DOJ has issued aren’t simply suggestions that are followed at the whim of an attorney general, but the law of the land.”

RTDNA and all of the major journalism organizations are working to promote the FFIA and urge you to contact your senators and representatives to show your support.