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Media Groups Oppose Official Secrets Act Proposal by Sen. Bond

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  1. Newsgathering
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Media groups are opposing Sen. Kit Bond’s bill, S 3774, to criminalize the disclosure of any classified information, saying it bill would create an an overly broad and dangerous Officials Secrets Act. The Sunshine in Government Initiative, a coalition nine of the largest media organizations, said the legislation “would have a chilling effect on legitimate interactions between government officials and the public,” and urged instead an ongoing dialogue between media and government on the handling of sensitive information. The National Newspaper Association and 15 state press associations said such a law would not only harm newsgathering but “could and inevitably would be used for political purposes.” The Society of Environmental Journalists said it would cast a pall of fear that would make impossible the public oversight of government that is essential to democracy and the rule of law.” (9/15/06)