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Shield Law Gets Initial Hearing Before Senate Judiciary Committee

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  1. Protecting Sources and Materials
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A panel of journalists and media lawyers told the Senate Judiciary Committee that Congress should clarify a reporter’s legal right to protect confidential sources. The committee is considering a bill that would provide an absolute privilege for reporters except in national security cases. The six witnesses all spoke in favor of such legislation but the Justice Depatment in written testimony submitted to the committee called the bill by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-In) “bad public policy.” At the end of the hearing, Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa) suggested the bill needs stronger support to go anywhere this session but that “Today was a significant start to exploring the problem.” (7/22/05)