Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bay State Solons Taking Another Shot at a Shield Law

Coat of Arms of Massachusetts. Official, adopt...Image via Wikipedia
"Cradle of Liberty" moniker notwithstanding, Massachusetts has repeatedly come up short in its efforts to enact a shield law to protect journalists  against having to disclose confidential sources (see "TUOL" post 2/19/10).

The Massachusetts General Court, however, is nothing if not persistent, as the Joint Committee on the Judiciary March 6 will conduct a hearing on Bill H.2255, the so-called Free Flow of Information Act ("FFIA"), sponsored by Rep. Alice Hanlon Peisch.

The proposed measure would amend Massachusetts General Laws ch. 233 and would shield "any person who is or has been an employee, agent, or independent contractor of any news media as defined here, who is or has been engaged in bona fide news gathering for such entity, and who obtained or prepared the news or information that is sought while serving in that capacity, or news media, or any parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of the news media as defined below to the extent that the subpoena or other compulsory process seeks news or information described in subsection (b) of this section."

Although shield laws enacted in states most recently tend to do so, it is unclear whether the FFIA would afford protection to bloggers.
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