The whole point of the First Amendment is granting THE PEOPLE the right to criticize the government. Feinstein’s amendment starts the process of letting the government decide who gets to speak out and who doesn’t. That directly undermines our premier civil right. – Robert Edward Griffith, Communications Consultant.
Isn’t it time for Feinstein to retire and go fishing or something. We have these government folks that are afraid of the people they represent. At every turn many of them work behind cover to intentionally undermine the Constitution of the people they purport to represent. Here is the story…
Flash Report – The United States Senate is currently considering the Federal Free Flow of Information Act. This would be a “shield law” that would protect the ability of journalists to keep their sources confidential. Right now 49 states and the District of Columbia have shield laws in place, but the federal government does not. This is a good idea, and I applaud the effort. Unfortunately the legislation has gotten hung because of one sticky issue — who is a journalist.
Our senior United States Senator, Dianne Feinstein, has introduced an amendment to this legislation (on behalf of both herself and Senator Durbin of Illinois) that would seek to narrowly define a journalist, with the rather obvious intent of trying to exclude independent and citizen journalists, such as bloggers.
Larry Atkins over in the Huffington Post reports: The bill currently defines it [a journalist] as a person “with the primary intent to investigate events and procure material in order to disseminate to the public news or information concerning local, national or international events or other matters of public interest,” collects the information by conducting interviews and directly observing events, and has the intent of gathering news. The person also must intend to report on the news at the start of obtaining any protected information and must plan to publish that news. One of the troublesome aspects of the bill is an amendment proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and co-sponsored by Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., which “defines a journalist as a salaried agent of a media entity,” such as a newspaper, broadcast news station, news website or another type of news service distributed digitally. There is also a “look back” option to protect legitimate reporters not tied to a specific news organization… .
Senator Feinstein is not winning any popularity contests with her elitist, restrictive amendment. One of the more comprehensive critiques of this issue was penned by Morgan Weiland over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation with his piece, Why Senator Feinstein Is Wrong About Who Is A “Real Reporter — I commend it to your attention. I am one of several bloggers who is cited in this Watchdog Wire story critical of Feinstein, penned by Eric Boehm, entitled, Bloggers Decry Effort to Limit Protections for Journalists’ Sources. In theory, the federal “shield” protecting our sources should be the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. But it is clear that an additional level of legal protection is warranted to allow me, and others like me, to protect their confidential sources. I encourage the passage of the Federal Free Flow of Information Act, with the broadest possible consideration for protecting any earnest American who seeks to expose waste, fraud or abuse in our government — whether it is a professional reporter, or a citizen journalist. This restrictive amendment proposed by Senator Feinstein should be rejected out of hand.
By Jon Fleischman Aug 15, 2013
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