The House of Representatives Wednesday (Dec. 16) passed the Daniel Pearl Freedom of the Press Act.
The bill which expands the State Department's examination of international press freedom in its annual human rights report, was named after the late Wall Street Journal reporter who was kidnapped and killed by terrorists in Pakistan in 2002.
"We have drawn inspiration from Daniel Pearl's life and hope this legislation will better protect his colleagues who serve on the frontlines in the fight for greater accountability and transparency," said Bill Co-Sponsor Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) of the bill's passage. "Freedom of expression cannot exist where journalists are not safe from persecution and attack. Our government must promote freedom of the press by putting on center stage those countries in which journalists are killed, imprisoned, kidnapped, threatened, or censored."
It is the second time the bill passed. The first time was as part of a State Department authorization bill that has since gotten bogged down in the Senate. The standalone bill passed 403 to 12, and Schiff and co-sponsor Mike Pence (R-Ind.) say the prospects for a stand-alone version in the Senate are good. It has already passed the Foreign Relations Committee.