Applauds Reps. Kiley and Raskin, and Sens. Wyden and Lee, for Leadership in Introducing Important Bill
The PRESS Act – Protect Reporters from Exploitive State Spying Act – was introduced in the U.S. House and Senate this morning.
This legislation would limit the ability of prosecutors to expose the sources and notes of journalists in federal court. While 49 U.S. states have such press “shield laws,” the federal government has no such protections. This has led to federal intrusions into the records of the Associated Press, The Washington Post, and The New York Times, as well as advocacy journalists on the left and right.
The PRESS Act had previously passed the House with unanimous, bipartisan support in September 2022. Today, it was introduced by Rep. Kevin Kiley (R-CA) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), and in the Senate by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).
“Support for the PRESS Act sweeps across ideological divisions in both houses of Congress because it is widely recognized that the basic liberties of all are at stake,” said Bob Goodlatte of Virginia, former Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and Senior Policy Advisor of Protect The 1st. “At a time when voters and constituents in both parties are concerned about the potential for federal power to be abused and misused, passing the PRESS Act into law this year should be a point of pride for any incumbent.”
Rick Boucher, former Virginia congressman, member of the House Judiciary Committee, and now Senior Policy Advisor of Protect The 1st, also stressed the need to pass this legislation in 2023. He was also the lead sponsor of a forerunner bill, the federal press shield legislation that passed the House in 2007 and 2009.
“Journalists have been held in contempt and jailed for refusing to reveal their confidential news sources,” Boucher said. “When big scandals, corruptions, and misdeeds that harm the public interest come to light, it is usually because some brave soul on the inside was willing to speak to a reporter.
“Let’s protect that whistleblower,” Boucher said. “And let’s protect that journalist as well. By doing so, we protect all our rights.”