Thursday, April 4, 2013

UPDATE: Will Aloha State Solons Modify Shield Law?

The Hawaii state seal.
The Hawaii state seal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Hawaii's Senate Judiciary Committee today is expected to decide whether to modify the state's shield law [Hawaii Rev. Stat. sec. 621] that is scheduled to expire in June, the Associated Press reports.

Enacted in 2008, the statute, with exceptions, protects traditional and non-traditional reporters (e.g., bloggers) from having to disclose confidential sources and information to authorities (see "TUOL" posts 2/2/11, 5/10/09). Attorney General David Louie is leading the charge to refine the statute, according to the AP story, so as not to cover bloggers, and to grant law enforcement officers access to reporters' unpublished information.

On the other end of the spectrum, a coalition of 16 media groups cleverly calling itself The Hawaii Shield Law Coalition wants to make the statute permanent, but otherwise argues its provisions should be untouched. Already, the Hawaii House has proposed subjecting journalists to subpoenas in civil cases and cases in which people or animals are unlawfully harmed. Presently, cases involving felonies or defamation are an exception to the statute under which journalists may be compelled to divulge notes or identities of unnamed sources.

Forty states and the District of Columbia have some form of shield law in place, though "TUOL"'s home base, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is not among them, so don't tell us your secrets.

Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment