Dave Aeikens at SPJ and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press report that last night the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 985, the House version of a federal shield law that would provide journalists a qualified privilege against disclosing the identity of sources and turning over information obtained or created in the course of newsgathering. According to the Reporters Committee, the bill passed by a "voice vote under a suspension of the rules, a typical procedure used to pass non-controversial bills."
The text of the bill is the same as the 2007 version (H.R. 2102), which passed the House by a huge margin in October 2007, but failed to become law when its Senate counterpart died without a vote at the end of the legislative session. (For details on the previous bills, see previous CMLP posts here, here, here, and here.) Like its predecessor, H.R. 985 limits coverage of the shield law to journalists who make significant money from their activities: read more »