Epic Win: US Reporter Protections Legislation Extends To New Media

Legislation that will protect reporters from being forced to disclose their confidential sources in the US Federal Court will recognize new media alongside heritage media.

The legislation, a compromise between the US Senate, media representatives and the White House, protects reporters while giving the government authority to override those rights in certain national security cases, reports The Huffington Post.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press were strongly recommending that the larger media coalition backing reporter protections endorse the agreement, saying that “it is a compromise we can live with and it seems to be a compromise the White House can live with. It’s certainly better than the status quo.”

While reporter protections should be welcomed, the original proposal unfairly excluded new media writers by defining reporters by the outlets they worked for. The revised bill extends “protections for freelance or citizen journalists by defining a journalist by the nature of activity engaged in.”

While the bill primarily deals with Federal law, and does not necessarily extend to US States, the recognition of new media is an important step forward in Government recognition of the changing media landscape. The inclusion of new media may also help drive efforts at the State level in the United States, and further encourage other Western countries to recognize new media in similar local laws.