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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

It’s time to raise the shield!

Forty-nine states 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.

There is absolutely no protection at the federal level. It’s time to pass a federal shield law.

The proposed Free Flow of Information Act (S. 987) would provide protection to reporters, and their sources, from the federal government in federal courts. It was passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee in September 2013.

The Free Flow of Information Act is pending in the Senate. SPJ needs your help to get it passed.


Help us raise the shield!

1. Contact your senators by phone. Use this directory to help you get started, and consult these talking points for guidance.

2. Report in. Let us know when you contact your senators by using this form, or email shield@spj.org 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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