Viva The Free Press!

Katy Grimes: Time spent today on an Assembly Joint Resolution to declare a free press in California seemed a little redundant given that California already declares that its press is “free.” Existing law states that a journalist cannot be held in contempt for refusing to name a source. However, federal courts are increasingly imposing severe prison sentences on journalists who decline to reveal confidential sources, as well as fines of up to $5,000 a day.

The purpose of AJR 16 is to urge Congress to enact a shield law for America’s journalists to preserve the free flow of information to the public arising from the use of journalists’ confidential sources. This resolution, according to author Assemblywoman Noreen Evans, D-Santa Rosa, “appropriately seeks to thwart increasing efforts to impose sanctions against journalists for honoring promises of confidentiality where such sources are often essential to the press’s ability to inform the public about matters of vital concern.”

California’s first shield law was enacted in 1935, and later was incorporated into the state Constitution.

I’ll remember that.

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  1. John Seiler
    John Seiler 29 June, 2010, 17:52

    I commend the Legislature on this one. The First Amendment protects us against an increasingly fascist government in Washington, whether it’s run by Democrats or Republicans.

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