Case exemplifies need for federal shield law

A 60-year-old reporter whose work once led to a Pulitzer Prize for public service is fighting to keep his source for a story on an internal government investigation of a lawyer confidential.

David Ashenfelter of the Detroit Free Press did not reveal his source, and instead claimed the Fifth Amendment. Attorneys for the lawyer, who was in charge of terrorism cases, argue the use of the Fifth Amendment was improper and will continue to pursue the case.

At the heart of this issue is the lack of a federal shield law to protect journalists from revealing their sources. Many states have shield laws, but there is no such federal equivalent. (Does your state have a shield law? Find out here.)

The Society of Professional Journalists and other journalism groups have been calling for a federal shield law for years.

Perhaps with the same party in majority in Congress and in the White House something can be done.


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