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October 11, 2005

U.S. Press Shield for Bloggers? Probably Not But Who Knows

Editor and Publisher is reporting on remarks by Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN) at the 61st Inter American Press Association Conference in Indianapolis rergarding the status of bloggers under the proposed Free Flow of Information Act of 2005.  Sen. Lugar sponsored the act as a response to the Judy Miller situation in the Valarie Plame investigation.

Asked by Washington Post Deputy Managing Editor Milton whether bloggers are journalists or other commercial entities under the law, Lugar said that bloggers would probably not be considered journalists under the law,  though "this will be the subject of debate as the bill goes along."  There are two bills introduced in the Senate that address the issue, S.340 and S.1419.  There are companion bills in the House, H.R. 581 and H.R. 3323.

As of now, the bill language (from S. 1419, sec. 5) describing the term `covered person' means--

        (A) an entity that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means and that--

          (i) publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical in print or electronic form;

          (ii) operates a radio or television broadcast station (or network of such stations), cable system, or satellite carrier, or a channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier; or

          (iii) operates a news agency or wire service;

        (B) a parent, subsidiary, or affiliate of such an entity to the extent that such parent, subsidiary, or affiliate is engaged in news gathering or the dissemination of news and information; or

        (C) an employee, contractor, or other person who gathers, edits, photographs, records, prepares, or disseminates news or information for such an entity.

October 11, 2005 | Permalink

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