Tuesday, August 28, 2007

More on shield law...

Question was asked yesterday on why the distinction between journalists, former journalists, and bloggers. Here's an explanation from Rep. Blake Oshiro, vice chair of Judiciary and House majority floor leader, who has authored draft legislation:

"The distinction was based on laws from a majority of other states. The issue is about providing additional 1st amendment protections for freedom of press. Thus, there must be some measure of "press." Bloggers, without any prior journalism or media experience, still enjoy first amendment free speech rights, just not the same legal protections as a "journalist." Also, there are established standards for journalism ethics, but to my knowledge, none exist for blogging, so those conducting themselves within those ethical standards, should enjoy their full freedom of press rights."


Doug said...

Perhaps the Representative would care to respond at my blog?


Anonymous said...


Thanks for your interest in the proposed bill. At this point of bill drafting, like many ideas, it's often helpful to take a template from another state. As you know, the bill will be amended during the legislative process as justified.

The main purpose of the bill is to protect confidential sources gathered by journalists under their freedom of press rights. For blog sites, a blogger's personal and individual opinion is inextricably intertwined with facts, so that's why there is already freedom of speech protections for that opinion. Here, when we are talking about the dissemination of information from another source, having some degree of standard to separate a journalist from a blogger still seems appropriate.

When the legislative session begins you will be able to see the actual language of the proposed bill. At that time, I would welcome your input in the process.

Doug said...

Mahalo for your comment, Representative, even if it is non-responsive to my many questions.

I am not advocating shield protection for every post on every blog. I support the shield protection whenever anyone, journalist or blogger, disseminates information in the public interest that is obtained via a confidential source. You are setting up a needless, and false, dichotomy between journalists "having some degree of standard[s]" and bloggers. In fact, there are journalists who don't adhere to the standards that would be provided the protection anyway, and there are bloggers that deserve the protection that are inexplicably excluded.

Hopefully, whatever bill you ultimately introduce will consider that as a starting point. I'll be watching [and writing], of course.