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Reporter's shield law awaits governor's signature

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
Reporter's shield law awaits governor's signature 07/12/99 NORTH CAROLINA--A bill that would create statutory protections for reporters asked to testify…

Reporter’s shield law awaits governor’s signature

07/12/99

NORTH CAROLINA–A bill that would create statutory protections for reporters asked to testify about confidential sources or information has passed both houses of the North Carolina legislature, and in early July awaited the governor’s approval.

The proposed “shield law” provides reporters with a qualified privilege against compelled disclosure of confidential or non- confidential sources and information. Under the law, a court can order a reporter to testify only after the requesting party has shown that the reporter’s information is highly relevant to the case, cannot be obtained from another source, and is essential to the case. Journalists who are eyewitnesses to a crime, however, are not protected from being compelled to testify under the law.

North Carolina will become the 31st state, along with the District of Columbia, to enact a shield law if the governor signs the bill.

The House of Representatives approved the bill in late June. The Senate had approved its own version of the bill in late April, but then ratified the House version in late June.

(S.B. 1009, H.B. 1200)