Image via WikipediaThe Massachusetts Legislature's Joint Committee on the Judiciary next week will conduct a public hearing Feb. 23 on House Bill 1650, which, if passed, would scratch the Commonwealth from the list of states yet to enact a shield law to prevent journalists from being compelled to disclose confidential sources to courts and government agencies.
HB 1650 would bring print and broadcast journalists under its umbrella, along with some bloggers. "bona fide news gathering," rather than specific employment, is the gauge that determines coverage under the bill. A blogger who routinely gathers and disseminates news would be shielded, for example.
A similar bill died in the last legislative session without emerging from the Judiciary Committee.