Free Press

Revised Media Shield Law Still Defines Who Qualifies as a Protected Journalist

Schumer explicitly wants to exclude WikiLeaks


A new media shield law expected to pass committee on Thursday broadens the definition of "journalist" to include, among other things, any individual deemed appropriate by a federal judge.

The new amendment is a step forward for independent and non-traditional media organizations who feared that an amendment introduced to the original bill would exclude them from protections granted to the traditional press corps, including protection from revealing information and sources except in extreme circumstances.

The original amendment, as proposed by Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Dick Durbin, had limited the defnition of journalist to someone employed by or in contract with a media outlet for at least three months in the last two years; someone with a substantial track record of freelancing in the last two years; or a student journalist.