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Congressional Research Service Report on Reporter’s Shield Laws

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
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Congress is considering two bills to create a media shield law which would provide federal statutory recognition of a reporter’s “privilege” to decline to provide testimony identifying a confidential source in legal, administrative, or other governmental proceedings. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia have recognized the privilege through enactment of “shield laws,” which protect the relationship between reporters, their source, and sometimes, the information that may be communicated in that relationship. A new report by the Congressional Research Service provides an brief overview of trends among the states individual statutes, then sets out the full text of the state shield statutes.