A group of senators announced on Wednesday that they would renew their push for federal legislation to limit the ability of federal authorities to compel journalists to reveal information about or obtained from confidential sources, after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would tighten its own standards for when to seek such information.
The bill, the Free Flow of Information Act of 2013, is an updated version of a reporters’ shield bill that was considered in 2009. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) reintroduced the bill in mid-May of this year, co-sponsored by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). The Obama administration asked Schumer to reintroduce the bill after the U.S. Justice Department disclosed that it had obtained call records for more than 20 telephone extensions of Associated Press journalists.
The bill generally would prevent federal authorities from compelling journalists to identify confidential sources or reveal information obtained under a promise of confidentiality, unless a court determines that the government has exhausted all reasonable alternative sources of the information and the government’s need for the information outweighs the public interest in the free flow of information.