Tuesday, October 16, 2007
Journalists’ Shield Passes
But are we journalists?
The Free Flow of Information act passed the House late this afternoon by a vote of 398 to 21. As I read the text of HR 2102 some (but possibly not all) bloggers would be covered. The bill defines ‘journalism’ this way”
“The term ‘‘journalism’’ means the gathering, preparing, collecting, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing of news or information that concerns local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest for dissemination to the public.”
Mathew Pollack, writing on The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press web site, reports:
“The bill only protects professional journalists who regularly engage in journalism 'for substantial financial gain' or a substantial part of their livelihood. Under this definition, some, but not all, bloggers will receive protection from federal investigators. Any terrorist organizations or media wings of foreign powers cannot claim protection under the shield.”
My problem, which some Lefty Blogger may solve, is that in the text of the bill on line I don’t find the ‘substantial financial gain’ limitation. Apart from that the notion of substantial gain seems fairly ambiguous.