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National Briefing / Washington, D.c.

Panel to consider reporter shield

September 13, 2009|Times Wire Reports

The Senate Judiciary Committee this week will take up a new version of a reporter shield law.

The bipartisan-backed legislation, which establishes a qualified privilege for reporters to withhold the names of confidential sources who provide information under promise of confidentiality, has been the subject of intensive lobbying by media companies for years.

The companies were reacting to an increase in the number of subpoenas to reporters during the George W. Bush administration, including the highly publicized case involving disclosure of the identity of Valerie Plame when she was a covert CIA officer.

Though a similar bill passed the House in March, as it had in 2007, the shield legislation has had trouble gaining traction in the Senate, due mainly to Republican opposition. President Bush and his Justice Department opposed the shield law. President Obama, during his campaign last year, said he favored such legislation.

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