Friday, September 21, 2007

NYT: A Shield for the Public

Yesterday's New York Times editorial, A Shield for the Public, puts the emphasis where it should be in supporting the federal shield bill. The key point is that a shield bill is not needed to protect journalists, it is needed to protect the public's right to know. If sources cannot be assured of confidentiality, they will not come forward to reveal wrongdoing in government and business. Here is how the Times puts it:
"For freedom of the press to be more than a promise and for the public to be kept informed about the doings of its government, especially the doings that the government does not want known, reporters must be able to pursue the news wherever it takes them. One of the most valuable tools they have is the ability to protect the names of confidential sources — people who provide vital information at the risk of their jobs, their careers and sometimes even their lives."

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