John Conyers (D-MI), Rick Boucher (D-VA) and Mike Pence (R-IN) are shepherding the latest attempt to get a federal reporters shield law through Congress, with a lengthy bipartisan list of co-sponsors. Similar bipartisan attempts are being made in the Senate. The National Association of Broadcasters, the Radio-Television News Directors Association and the Newspaper Association of America have fired off a joint letter to all members of Congress asking for their support.
"Compelling journalists to reveal confidential sources impairs the free flow of information on matters of importance to the public interest, and discourages 'whistle blowers' from coming forward with evidence of waste, fraud and abuse in both the government and the private sector," said the letter signed by, respectively, David Rehr, Barbara Cochran and John Sturm.
"Groundbreaking stories, from the problems of outpatient care at Walter Reed Army Medical Center to illegal accounting practices at Enron to the abuse of steroids in baseball, have depended on confidential sources. Freedom of the press was a fundamental building block on which this country was built. Thomas Jefferson put it best when he said: 'No government ought to be without censors; and where the press is free no one ever will.'"
Boucher is taking the lead on the bill, H.R. 2102, and has 47 total co-sponsors.