Thursday, October 13, 2005

Bloggers seen as real threat?

"Bloggers likely will not be deemed legitimate journalists who will be able to receive the coveted protections of a federal shield law, a key senator said Monday. Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., told a journalism conference that Web loggers may not qualify for that privilege, according to a report on Editor & Publisher's Web site. 'As to who is a reporter, this will be a subject of debate as this bill goes farther along,' Lugar said, according to the report. 'Are bloggers journalists or some of the commercial businesses that you here would probably not consider real journalists? Probably not, but how do you determine who will be included in this bill?' Lugar is the primary sponsor of the proposed Free Flow of Information Act, which currently is worded in a way that protects anyone who 'publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical in print or electronic form.' Even that definition may help bloggers protect the confidentiality of sources -- but as Lugar suggested, it could be revised. This isn't a new debate. Politicians are considering a federal shield law (most states already have them) in response to the now-ended imprisonment of New York Times reporter Judith Miller. But it's not clear how the final version will be worded."

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