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SPJ president on reintroduction of Shield Law: Let's get it passed


Sonny Albarado, SPJ National President, 501.551.8811, spjsonny@gmail.com

The Society of Professional Journalists applauds the reintroduction of bills in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives that would create protections for journalists who seek to keep their sources of information confidential from prosecutors and attorneys.

“I'm glad the subject is once again before Congress,” SPJ President Sonny Albarado said Tuesday. “We'll see whether Congress and the Obama White House can sustain the momentum once the embarrassment of the Justice Department's trampling of the First Amendment fades.

The Justice Department and White House have been under fire recently for leaks investigations that involved tracking and monitoring journalists at The Associated Press and Fox News' James Rosen.

“I and SPJ President-elect David Cuillier look forward to working with past supporters of a federal Shield Law to get this important legislation through Congress,” Albarado said.

Albarado noted that a Shield Law provides protection not just for journalists and the whistleblowers who seek to remain anonymous while helping reporters uncover information that government officials and politicians would rather keep hidden.

“More importantly, the Free Flow of Information Act, as the proposed legislation is known, is ultimately meant to protect American citizens by ensuring that they can rely on independently obtained information about their government instead of just accepting the government's version of events or actions,” Albarado said.

Officers and members of the Society of Professional Journalists have been pushing for passage of a federal Shield Law since 2005 and mounted a face-to-face campaign in 2009 to work toward an acceptable compromise on several key provisions. That legislation languished in the Senate after legislators failed to reach an agreement.

“I hope our Senators and Representatives follow through this time, and I hope President Obama fulfills his 2008 campaign promise to sign the Free Flow of Information Act into law,” Albarado said.

Founded in 1909 as Sigma Delta Chi, SPJ promotes the free flow of information vital to a well-informed citizenry; works to inspire and educate the next generation of journalists; and protects First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and press. For more information about SPJ, please visit www.spj.org.


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