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Hawaii legislature passes shield bill

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
Both houses of Hawaii's legislature yesterday passed a shield bill that would allow journalists to protect confidential sources and other…

Both houses of Hawaii’s legislature yesterday passed a shield bill that would allow journalists to protect confidential sources and other information. The bill now goes to the governor.

The shield bill would create what is in some cases an absolute privilege. In felony prosecutions and libel cases, the privilege would be qualified; it could be overcome if the information was unavailable from other sources, noncumulative, and necessary and relevant to the case. The privilege would be severely limited or not available at all if the journalist was committing a crime or was an eyewitness to a crime, or if the information was "critical to prevent serious harm to life or public safety."