Political Radar

Relating to evidence

April 18th, 2013

State House negotiators have prepared a conference draft of a news media shield law bill that would protect bloggers and other non-traditional journalists.

The House draft would restore language in the shield law, removed by the Senate, that affords protection to individuals who regularly report news of substantial public interest or have similar reasons as traditional journalists for shielding the identity of confidential sources. The draft also would restore the protection for whistleblowers and others who have information that is in the public interest.

But the draft would still expand the exceptions to the shield law from felony cases and civil cases involving defamation to potential felonies and serious crimes involving unlawful injury to people or animals and all civil cases. It would also make clear that criminal defendants have a constitutional right to information to prepare their defense.

The draft would also eliminate the protection for unpublished information, such as notes, not likely to lead to the identity of confidential sources.

News media interests have complained that the revisions proposed by the House, and particularly by the Senate, would severely weaken the shield law, which was established in 2008 and expires at the end of June. The protection for bloggers and non-traditional journalists in the shield law has been considered a national model.

Rep. Karl Rhoads, the lead House negotiator, and Sen. Clayton Hee, the lead Senate negotiator, will resume conference committee on the bill on Monday afternoon.

3 Responses to “Relating to evidence”

  1. ohiaforest3400:


    Constitutional rights protect individuals from action by the government. A criminal defendant has no copnstitutional right to information held by a private party. FWIW, it doesn't seem that a journalist or blogger invoking a statutory shield against disclosure in, for example, a proceeding to enforce a subpoena by a criminal defendant for information about a case, amounts to the state action necessary to make the private party's refusal to disclose the information a constitutional violation. And all civil cases? Including small claims? Really?

    I still don't get why they don't just extend the sunset date if they can't agree. I haven't heard a single instance of an investigation/case reaching a dead end because of the shield law or why it's a problem. On the otrher hand, if the proponents can'tr point to a piece of journalism that has gone forward only because of the existence of the law. So just extend the thing until there's a reason to do modify it, repeal it, or permananetly enact it.

  2. Especially Incognito:

    Many take in too much of The Fifth
    and get drunk. Being drunk
    and confronted they plead that they didn't
    know but they do know. Liability and slander.

    It would be so simple if Laws were written
    in plain English without the loopholes.

    Circumstantial Evidence.

  3. Political Radar | Unpublished | Political Radar | staradvertiser.com | Honolulu, Hawaii:

    [...] House and Senate drafts would only protect unpublished information that could lead to the identity of confidential [...]

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