Monday, March 22, 2010

Proposed Ban on Reporting Minors' Names Appears Dead

A Massachusetts bill that would ban the news media from reporting the names of minors who appear in a broadcast or photograph appears unlikely to pass this session.

The bill, Senate 1669, would prohibit the media from using minors' names without first obtaining the express, written consent of the minor's parent or guardian. Last week, the legislature's Joint Committee on the Judiciary referred the bill to a study committee, which generally means the bill is unlikely to be resurrected during the current legislative session.

As you can imagine, such a law would severely inhibit the media's reporting on school sports and other such events. It would also be unconstitutional. On behalf of the Massachusetts Newspaper Publishers Association, I had submitted testimony opposing this bill when it came up for a hearing last July.

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