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SPJ leaders take Shield Law to Capitol Hill July 13-14


For Immediate Release:

Dave Aeikens, SPJ President, (320) 255-8744, daeikens@stcloud.gannett.com
Karen Grabowski, SPJ Communications Coordinator, (317) 927-8000 ext. 215, kgrabowski@spj.org

INDIANAPOLIS – Society of Professional Journalist leaders will be on Capitol Hill Monday, July 13, and Tuesday, July 14, to discuss the passage of a federal shield law with key legislators.

The group will focus on putting a federal shield law into the forefront of political discussion with supporters of the shield law and with those who have yet to back the proposed legislation.

There are currently two federal shield law bills pending in the Senate, S. 448 and H.R. 985, both known as the Free Flow of Information Act. H.R. 985 passed the House earlier this year, and both have been placed on the Senate Judiciary Committee calendar for markup once Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearings are complete. With the shield law on Congress’ agenda and the current focus on the future of journalism, now is an opportune time for SPJ to voice its firm support for a law that protects the fair and accurate practice of journalism.

“Making this visit to Capitol Hill sends a strong message to Congress that we believe America is not a place where journalists should be compelled to give up their confidential sources,” SPJ president Dave Aeikens said.

A federal shield law would protect reporters and the sources who come forward with sensitive information. Without the guarantees a federal shield law would provide, people may be less likely to share information vital to a well-informed citizenry. Currently, journalists and their sources are only protected by privilege statutes or rules in some states.

Along with SPJ, a number of other organizations have joined the shield law effort, including the Newspaper Association of America, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Radio and Television News Directors Association, and Investigative Reporters and Editors, among others. Learn more about SPJ’s efforts by clicking here.

To voice your support of a federal shield law, contact your local lawmakers. Visit House.gov to contact members of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.gov for a list of the U.S. Senate members.

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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