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Security Exception Boosts Reporter Shield Bill

Posted Sep 26, 2007 7:50 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Sponsors are optimistic about prospects for a Senate bill to shield reporters from disclosing confidential sources in federal courts.

Reporter protections wouldn’t apply in cases of threatened terror attacks or national security, provisions that improve the bill’s chances, the New York Times reports.

“It’s balanced, particularly when it comes to national security,” said one of the sponsors, Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. “This bill can pass.”

The bill, which will be considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee tomorrow, offers fewer reporter protections than most of the 49 states with shield laws. Despite its limited reach, the legislation has the support of Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

“I’m not crazy about it,” she told the Times. “There is no question that this is a huge compromise. But I’m also a realist.”

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