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Hawaii shield law moves forward in House

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
A new reporter’s shield law in Hawaii passed the state House Committee on Judiciary last week and is expected to…

A new reporter’s shield law in Hawaii passed the state House Committee on Judiciary last week and is expected to be taken up by the full House sometime soon. The bill would protect “journalists or newscasters who have met applicable standards of journalism ethics." 

Some have criticized the measure for excluding Internet reporters and bloggers from protection.  “Recognizing the explosion of news content and outlets on the Internet, federal and state courts across the nation have adopted a broader and more flexible standard," said media attorney Ted Hong.

Critics have also taken issue with a provision in the bill that would allow the state to set  “standards of journalism ethics.” Malia Zimmerman of Hawaiireporter.com  asks: “Who decides who is ethical under this bill? It is always dangerous for a government to oversee journalism ethics.”

Zimmerman supports a Senate version of the bill, which would extend protection to the notes and unpublished material of reporters.