A Discussion And Analysis Of The Federal Shield Law Essay

1807 Words Feb 18th, 2015 null Page
Freeing the Press:
A Discussion and Analysis of the Federal Shield Law Fresh out of college, freelance journalist Josh Wolf headed to a 2005 anti-G8 Summit protest in San Francisco to report what he saw. Wolf recorded video of the protest, which became violent, and posted clips of it online. When the protest came under investigation, federal prosecutors ordered Wolf to provide the unpublished portions of the video. He refused, claiming the First Amendment gives journalists the right to shield their material. Wolf continued his refusal to hand over the footage, resulting in a 226 day sentence in a federal prison, the longest a journalist had ever served for protecting source material (Turner, 2012, p. 503-04). If put in place, a federal shield law would prevent journalists from having to testify in court and reveal confidential information. This law could protect journalists like Wolf from going to jail for doing their job. In this situation, Wolf was not connected with any media outlet when he documented the protest, but was conducting his reporting independently. He was still performing the act of journalism though he would not be considered a traditional reporter. This case also involved issues of security due to the severity of its violence. While a much needed comprehensive shield law is still being debated in Congress, the bill needs to weigh in national security using a qualified approach and broaden the definition of a journalist to include non-traditional reporters…

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