CRS PUBLISHES BACKGROUNDER ON JOURNALISTS' PRIVILEGE

November 28, 2007

As a bill that would protect reporters from having to disclose confidential sources inched forward in Congress, the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service has published a useful backgrounder. The report, published Oct. 18, 2007, describes the current lack of a "shield law" protecting reporters from legal penalties, including jail, when they refuse prosecutors' requests to disclose the identities of confidential sources.

The House passed a bill creating a limited reporters' privilege Oct. 16, 2007, by an overwhelming bipartisan majority of 398-21. It has not yet reached the Senate floor, and President Bush has threatened to veto it.