Home » News » House passes federal shield law; Senate considers next

By Free Speech Center, published on January 22, 2024

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Photo courtesy iStock: Mikhail Makarov

The U.S. House of Representatives has unanimously passed the PRESS Act, legislation that would protect reporters’ rights not to disclose the identity of a confidential source and bar the government from accessing journalists’ digital records stored on third-party platforms.

It’s the most robust level of protection ever to advance this far in Congress, and has been a long time coming. The majority of states have passed shield laws, but the fight for similar federal legislation has consistently come up short.

PRESS is an acronym for the “Protect Reporters from Exploitative State Spying Act.”

“Journalists shouldn’t be forced to choose between burning their sources or going to jail,” said Free Press Foundation Director Seth Stern said in a statement. “With the House’s bipartisan vote approving the PRESS Act, Congress comes one step closer to providing powerful protection against surveillance of journalists. Now it’s up to the Senate to finish the job by passing this historic legislation and sending it to the president’s desk to sign.”

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