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Protection for the free press

September 06, 2008

Re "The Senate and a shield," editorial, Aug. 31

For the last three years, California's Legislature has passed a resolution that I wrote to send Congress a bipartisan message demanding a federal shield law to protect a free press.

A free and vigilant press is often the only thing keeping the government honest. More than 30 states and the District of Columbia have laws protecting a free press. The lack of a federal shield undermines California's laws because journalists subpoenaed to a federal court are not protected from being forced to reveal confidential news sources. Absent federal protections, potential whistle-blowers may remain silent. This benefits no one but evildoers.

Congress is closer than ever to passing a shield law. It's a welcome cause for hope that our American democracy has a future.

Noreen Evans

Assembly Member

7th District

Sacramento

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I am supportive of your position of the need for such a law. I think that with accepting the shield, there is an implicit contract: In acknowledgment of the special treatment that the shield provides, it will be used to seek out the most vital stories.

The Palin pregnancy, as well as McCain's houses, Obama's lapel pins and middle name and arugula have nothing to do with the candidates' ability to lead.

With the press devoting so many resources to gossip-mongering, it is not keeping up its end of the bargain.

Glenn Egelko

Ventura

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