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FOI Committee
This committee is the watchdog of press freedoms across the nation. It relies upon a network of volunteers in each state organized under Project Sunshine. These SPJ members are on the front lines for assaults to the First Amendment and when lawmakers attempt to restrict the public's access to documents and the government's business. The committee often is called upon to intervene in instances where the media is restricted.

Home > Freedom of Information > Struggling to Report: Federal Shield Law

Raise the Shield!

Forty eight states (Wyoming and Hawaii excepted) and the District of Columbia provide journalists with a “reporter’s privilege,” protecting them if a state government seeks to make him or her reveal confidential information, including the identity of a source. Some states have statutes, known as “shield laws,” and some provide the protection through case law.

But, there is no federal law to protect journalists from revealing their confidential sources.

The Society of Professional Journalists is urging the Senate leadership to bring the Free Flow of Information Act the proposed federal shield law, to the Senate floor for a discussion and vote.

Clearly federal protection is needed.

Half of the Senate — a group including both Democrats and Republicans — is ready to debate the measure. The Senate leadership says it needs to see 10 more senators in favor.

Let’s show them it’s time to rise up and raise the shield in order to protect reporters and their sources and to defend the American public and democracy.

Help us raise the shield!

1. Contact your senators by phone. Consult these talking points for guidance.

2. Report in. Let us know when you contact your senators by using this form, or email with the details.

3. Spread the word! Get others to email. Tweet about it. (Get suggestions here.) Write editorials. Cover the story. Check back.

Talk about it. Write about it. Editorialize about it.

Here are the facts about the bill and arguments in favor of the shield law.

Here is a list of U.S. Senators and their contact info. You can find your two senators there.

Here are some sample email messages and letters to send to your senators, asking for their support for this important bill.

Watch this page for more news and information as the federal shield law moves through Congress.

It’s time to raise the shield. Now!

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