Democratic Assemblywoman Noreen Evans says California—and several other states have some kind of shield protections for journalists, honoring their promise of confidentiality to news sources. While the U.S. Justice Department does have special policies for subpoenas of the news media, Evans says the lack of a federal shield law leaves most reporters vulnerable to demands to divulge their confidential sources.
“A democracy needs a free flow of information in order to be self-governing”
The issue of a federal shield law was highlighted with the jailing of Judith Miller last year. Miller is the New York Times reporter who refused to testify in the case of the leak of a CIA agent’s name. The measure was approved with a 76-to-zero vote in the Assembly and had unanimous support in the state Senate.