Tags: obama | reporter | safeguards | ap

Obama Calls for More Reporter Safeguards as AP Scandal Swirls

Wednesday, 15 May 2013 03:50 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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As the Justice Department scandal over the secret subpoena of Associated Press phone records mushrooms, the Obama Administration is asking for greater protections for reporters who refuse to reveal their sources.

A White House official told The New York Times that President Barack Obama’s Senate liaison called Sen. Chuck Schumer and asked him to revive a media shield law the New Yorker had first proposed in 2009.

The Free Flow of Information Act was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee in a bipartisan 15-to-4 vote, but then abandoned when WikiLeaks began making classified government documents public.

Schumer's spokesman Brian Fallon told The Times the senator would reintroduce the bill.

“This kind of law would balance national security needs against the public’s right to the free flow of information,'' Schumer said in a statement. "At minimum, our bill would have ensured a fairer, more deliberate process in this case.”

The newspaper reported that Schumer's 2009 bill government would make the government notify a news organization ahead of time when it was seeking phone records, so the subpoena could be challenged in court.

Over the years, journalists such as Judith Miller — a former New York Times reporter who now contributes to Newsmax — have been sentenced to jail for refusing to reveal their sources.

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