Blunt, Conyers, Pence, Boucher Urge Senate to Take Up Media Shield Bill Congressmen Cite Dire Situation of USA Today Reporter







    WASHINGTON, April 17 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Citing the recent and
 troubling news of a USA Today reporter being held in contempt of court for
 refusing to publicly name her source, Congressmen Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), John
 Conyers (D-Mich.), Mike Pence (R-Ind.), and Rick Boucher (D-Va.) urged
 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch
 McConnell (R-Ky.) to quickly take up legislation already passed in the
 House to protect the media's rights to confidentiality.
 
 
 
     In a letter sent today, the Congressmen wrote:
 
 
 
     "Our bill would provide a federal shield law to better protect the free
 press that our founders knew would be needed to create our vibrant country.
 This measure has been long in coming, but should be completed before the
 next reporter faces the same untenable choices as [USA Today reporter Toni]
 Locy. Congress should move swiftly to put this bill on the President's desk
 before the Memorial Day Recess."
 
 
 
     The Free Flow of Information Act, the media shield bill authored by
 Boucher and Pence, overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives on
 October 16, 2007, by a vote of 398-21.
 
 
 
     The following is the full text of the letter the congressmen sent to
 Senators Reid and McConnell:
 
 
 
     April 16, 2008
 
 
 
     The Honorable Harry Reid
 
     Majority Leader
 
     United States Senate
 
     528 Hart Senate Office Building
 
     Washington, DC 20510
 
 
 
     The Honorable Mitch McConnell
 
     Minority Leader
 
     United States Senate
 
     361-A Russell Senate Office Building
 
     Washington, DC 20510
 
 
 
     Dear Majority Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell:
 
 
 
     It is with deep concern that we write to urge you to swiftly take up
 our bill, H.R. 2102, the Free Flow of Information Act of 2007 that passed
 the House of Representatives on October 16, 2007, by a vote of 398-21.
 
 
 
     The recent case regarding former USATODAY reporter Toni Locy has
 highlighted the urgency of these protections. Locy was recently held in
 contempt of court for refusing to reveal her law enforcement sources in a
 civil case - not a criminal case, but a civil monetary damages case - for
 articles she wrote about the 2001 anthrax attacks, even after she revealed
 the names of two sources upon receiving approval from them to do so. The
 court's contempt citation is disturbing enough, but the order is actually
 punitive in nature. The court imposed escalating fines upon Locy, and took
 the extraordinary action of ordering that she cannot receive financial
 assistance from anyone to pay any accrued fines. Fortunately, the appellate
 court has stayed this unwise order, but this case served to drive home the
 real legal peril that many in the press face on a daily basis.
 
 
 
     Our bill would provide a federal shield law to better protect the free
 press that our founders knew would be needed to create our vibrant country.
 This measure has been long in coming, but should be completed before the
 next reporter faces the same untenable choices as Locy. Congress should
 move swiftly to put this bill on the President's desk before the Memorial
 Day Recess.
 
 
 
     Sincerely,
 
 
 
     Roy Blunt
 
     Member of Congress
 
 
 
     John Conyers
 
     Member of Congress
 
 
 
     Mike Pence
 
     Member of Congress
 
 
 
     Rick Boucher
 
     Member of Congress
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

SOURCE House Republican Whip Roy Blunt

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

 

PR Newswire Membership

Fill out a PR Newswire membership form or contact us at (888) 776-0942.

Learn about PR Newswire services

Request more information about PR Newswire products and services or call us at (888) 776-0942.