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Sen. Specter Pushing for Shield Bill Action This Year

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Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Sen. Arlen Specter, R-PA, disagreed with a top Justice Department official that a journalists shield law is not needed and said he has asked Republican leaders for a vote this year. Specter’s comment came at the fourth hearing on a bill offering reporters a “qualified privilege” to protect information sources. Former Solicitor General Ted Olsen told the committee that the law is critical to maintaining a watchdog press. “Journalists in pursuit of such stories often must obtain information from individuals who, for fear of retribution or retaliation, are unwilling to be publicly identified.” (9/21/06)