The U.S. senate is working on a media shield law that would protect the media against government retaliation for exposing sensitive information.
I thought the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights made it quite clear that all speech was already protected:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Since the government has been on the rampage to punish whistleblowers who exposed government crimes perhaps additional clarity is needed. However, it seems that the politicians are using the media shield law to decide who gets free speech protection and who doesn’t.
South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham, who is the leading GOP sponsor of the media shield law, made some disturbing statements that the law may not include bloggers. In doing so, he clearly shows his disdain for bloggers.
“You can sit in your mother’s basement and chat away, I don’t care. But when you start talking about classified programs, that’s when it gets to be important,” “So, if classified information is leaked out on a personal website or [by] some blogger, do they have the same First Amendments rights as somebody who gets paid [in] traditional journalism?” “Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves,” Graham told reporters Wednesday. “Is any blogger out there saying anything—do they deserve First Amendment protection?
As the government draws scorn for prosecuting Private Bradley Manning to the fullest extent of the law for alleged leaking of classified information and the DOJ spying on the Associated Press and other news organizations, this media shield law is gaining a groundswell of bipartisan support.
Yet if this legislation is used to determine who is permitted, licensed or authorized to talk about “classified” programs and who isn’t, it will likely do more harm to free speech than it protects.
Original Article Here