Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Bill to shield reporters filed in Mass.

Massachusetts Senate President Robert Travaglini today filed a bill that would shield reporters from revealing their sources. The bill would prevent state courts and government entities from compelling a reporter to disclose the source of any news or information. It would also prohibit the required disclosure of a reporter's notes, outtakes, photographs, film, recordings and other data.

Note: I served on a committee of news professionals that drafted this bill and chaired the subcommittee that developed the committee's initial draft.

The bill is broad in its definition of who it covers, in order to include bloggers and freelance reporters. It defines coverage to include any person who "engages in the gathering of news or information" and "has the intent, at the beginning of the process of gathering news or information, to disseminate the news or information to the public."

I do not yet have the official bill number or text, but I have the text of the bill we drafted, which is the same as that filed today. If you would like a copy in Word format, send me a note at ambrogi-at-gmail.com.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As a Massachusetts resident that has witnessed reporters using 'confidential sources' to expound their own libelous ideas, I believe the bill needs to include severe penalties for unethical writing.
Many recent writers have been found to be scurolous and prejudiced. Reportedly none have been censured, but a few have had to change employers.