Home News Media News US – RSF Endorses H.R. 4330, A Bill Protecting Journalists from State Repression

US – RSF Endorses H.R. 4330, A Bill Protecting Journalists from State Repression

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US – RSF Endorses H.R. 4330, A Bill Protecting Journalists from State Repression
Reporters Without Borders (RSF) announces its support for H.R. 4330 — The Protect Reporters from Excessive State Suppression (PRESS) Act — a bill prohibiting the federal government from compelling journalists and providers of telecommunications services to disclose protected information.

Sponsored by Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), the PRESS Act seeks to protect information identifying a source, as well as any records, contents of a communication, documents, or information obtained or created by journalists in the course of their work, from public disclosure.

A majority of states have passed shield laws to protect journalists against government overreach and abuses of subpoena power, but we still lack a unifying federal press shield law. This leaves journalists vulnerable based on their geographic location and on the current administration in charge,” said Congressman Raskin. “As RSF knows well, a free press is fundamental to a democracy, and a federal shield law is critical to ensuring reporters can do their job without fear of political reprisal. I’m grateful for RSF’ support of my bill, the PRESS Act, which will make good on our continuing constitutional promise of a free press.”

RSF is at the forefront of ensuring the right to information, preventing information warfare, and protecting democratic information spaces. If passed, the PRESS Act would prohibit federal law enforcement from subpoenaing protected information from journalists from their work or personal devices/accounts. It would also stop federal entities from conducting an end run around these prohibitions by blocking them from seeking third party communications information from computing or communications companies, and provides journalists the opportunity to be heard in court when their information is sought.

“Protecting the right to information is at the heart of this bill,” said Clayton Weimers, Deputy Director of RSF’s Washington, DC office. “At a time when authoritarians the world over feel increasingly emboldened to restrict the free access of information, Congress can set a powerful example by enshrining this vital protection for journalists.”

The United States is ranked 44th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.

 

Source – https://rsf.org/en/news/us-rsf-endorses-hr-4330-bill-protecting-journalists-state-repression
Image Credit – MANDEL NGAN / AFP

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