Congressman Pledges Bloggers Would be Protected by Journalism Shield Law

Editor and Publisher reports:

Bloggers who actually gather news would be protected under the proposed federal shield law, the legislation's first author, U.S. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., told the Inland Press Association Monday.

Pence's view of who would qualify as a journalist under the Free Flow of Information Act differed from the assessment of the bill's co-sponsor in the Senate, Indiana Richard Lugar.

Exactly two weeks before speaking at the Inter American Press Association, Lugar said bloggers would "probably not" be considered journalists eligible for the act's protections.

Pence said bloggers would likely have to be considered on a "blog-by-blog" basis.

"Frankly, there are some that are out there gathering news," Spence said at Inland's 120th annual meeting. "There are many people though, who just link to your newspapers. It would be hard to argue to anyone that privilege applies to those people just because they have a Web site."

Who will decide on a "blog-by-blog" basis which sites deserve to be protected? And what criteria will be used to determine which bloggers should be respected as journalistic sources?