McCain Pledges to Support Federal Shield Law
Society of Professional Journalists: Presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee Spoke During AP’s Annual Meeting
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 4/14/2008 2:06:00 PM
“I’m willing to invest in the press a very solemn trust that in the use of confidential sources, you will not do more harm than good, whether it comes to the security of the nation or the reputation of good people,” McCain told the crowd, according to SPJ. “And I would hope that when you do something controversial or something that many people find wrong and harmful, you would explain fully and honestly how and why you did it and confess your mistakes, if you made them, in a more noticeable way than afforded by the small print on a corrections page.”
The bill -- which contains a qualified privilege that protects journalists and their sources, with carve-outs for national security and certain categories of information -- passed the Senate Judiciary Committee but has yet to get a vote on the floor. A version of the bill already passed the House. The current Republican administration strongly opposes the bill.
“At a time when overzealous prosecutors are attempting to use national security as an excuse to force journalists into acting as an arm of the law," SPJ president Clint Brewer said, "it’s good to know that a presidential hopeful understands that the responsibility of the press is to keep a watchful eye on government.”
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