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Bernardo de La Paz

Profile Information

Member since: Fri Jul 16, 2004, 11:36 PM
Number of posts: 9,493

About Me

Lived most of my adult life in the San Francisco Bay Area, California. Left a piece of my heart there.

Journal Archives

By narrowing the def of journalist, the Senate bill restricts anonymity, but it's worse.

The bill narrows the definition of journalist. So while it sort of "codifies" the case, it is the side effects that are more important to the politicians and more damaging to journalism.

First, the bill would mean that if somebody blogs an anonymous whistleblower, their IP provider could be forced to reveal them and the blogger forced to reveal the whistleblower.

This is because the bill seeks to greatly restrict the definition of journalist to a few approved media outlets.

Yes, journalists would have a codified shield, but there would be a very much reduced number of them shielded.

The bill trades a big broad shield of legal precedent for a small shield of legislation.

Second, by effectively licensing journalists, this restricts media freedoms. It also restricts free speech by stomping all over bloggers and 'citizen journalists'. It means much more pressure on those media outlets to maintain their journalist licensing and therefore toe the government line and not offend bureaucracies. Corporate interests already have advertising and media ownership for pressure.

Remember the old saw? "Freedom of the press is really freedom for those who own the press." This move extends that. Licensing means the government effectively owning the journalists. It would mean a guild where only people with degrees in journalism or broadcasting could report.

It also means that bloggers and citizen journalists can be shut down at any time if they actually commit real journalism that politicians and their corporate backers don't like. Effectively it would mean that unofficial journalists would not own a press anymore.

The politicians want to restrict the media and especially the bloggers in the same way that they strictly control their press conferences and their interviews and their message.

The net result is less honest reporting, less sunlight, and less free speech.
Posted by Bernardo de La Paz | Fri Sep 13, 2013, 06:20 AM (1 replies)
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