February 25, 2005

Proposal for state shield law merits look by assembly

The Hour

There is renewed interest in passing a shield law on both the state and federal levels, spurred on by the recent cases of reporters facing time in jail for refusing to reveal their sources. The most prominent ones involve a New York Times reporter, a Time magazine reporter and a Rhode Island television reporter. We have noted before that we may have been naive in assuming the First Amendment of the Constitution was sufficient protection. Apparently, that's not the case. We admit to some ambivalence on the matter. Journalists don't have to meet certain requirements to ply their trade, as do doctors and lawyers, for example. There is no question of the expectation of doctor-patient or lawyer-client confidentiality. Since there is no such "licensing" of journalists, do they deserve the same protection? The best case you can make is based on the examples in our own history, where it has been the diligence of the press that has revealed corruption in government. Whether it's Watergate, the Pentagon Papers, the priest scandals in the Catholic Church or the political scandals here in Connecticut, it was the press that brought them out in public view.

Posted by kshaw at February 25, 2005 07:06 AM