Senator James Webb
1916 Wilson Blvd., Suite 304
Arlington, VA 22201
Dear Senator Webb:
Congratulations from the Society of Professional Journalists on your election to Congress.
For almost 100 years, the Society, one of the nation’s oldest and largest journalism-advocacy organizations, has worked tirelessly to improve and protect journalism. Our nearly 10,000 members are dedicated to the perpetuation of a free press as the cornerstone of our nation and our liberty. We believe the American people must be well informed to make decisions regarding their lives and their local and national communities.
Given your admirable work as a journalist, author and supporter of the First Amendment, we hope you will support policies that encourage a climate where journalism can be practiced freely, so that the public can make informed decisions about their news.
As part of the Society’s advocacy efforts, we are pushing valiently for a federal shield law that would afford journalists greater protections. A shield has become essential now that prosecutors appear less constrained about forcing journalists to act as an additional arm of law enforcement. When these situations occur, the courts have not been a journalist’s best advocate. Judges have set aside the partial protections recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court in its Branzburg v. Hayes. Learn more about the need for a federal shield law and how it can help journalists and the public at www.spj.org/shieldlaw.asp.
Meanwhile, I am enclosing information about the Society for your review. Please know that you – and anyone from your staff – are welcome to contact me anytime with questions about the Society or any of the positions for which we stand.
Again, I extend hearty congratulations on your victory.
Society of Professional Journalists