Free Press

Justice Department "Reform" Threatens To Define and Protect a Narrow Class of Journalists

Just what we need: "official" journalists

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Lawmakers in Washington are again weighing in on who should and should not qualify as a journalist—and the outcome looks pretty grim for bloggers, freelancers, and other non-salaried journalists.

On July 12, the Justice Department released its new guidelines on investigations involving the news media in the wake of the fallout from the leak scandals involving the monitoring of AP and Fox News reporters. While the guidelines certainly provide much-needed protections for establishment journalists, as independent journalist Marcy Wheeler explained, the DOJ's interpretation of who is a "member[] of the news media" is dramatically narrower than the definition provided in the Privacy Protection Act and effectively excludes bloggers and freelancers from protection. This limiting definition is causing alarm among bloggers like Glenn Reynolds on the right as well.