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Bloggers May Be Shielded in New York

Bloggers in New York may soon be treated on par with other journalists, at least when it comes to receiving protection under New York State's shield laws, reports the New York Times City Blog. Shield laws protect journalists from being compelled to disclose their sources or testify about information obtained during news gathering. But in many states the law hasn't kept pace with technology, so most shield laws don't apply to bloggers.

For example, the current New York law protects "professional journalists involved with newspapers, magazines, news agencies, press associations, wire services, radio and television." The proposed bill would expand New York's shield law to include "journalist bloggers." Further, the bill even defines the term "blog" as “a Web site or Web page that contains an online journal containing news, comments and offers hyperlinks provided by the writer.”

Some have suggested that the current law already covers bloggers who practice journalism since it defines news media as “any professional medium or agency which has one of its regular functions the processing and researching of news intended for dissemination to the public.” However, current law only protects journalists who gather news for "gain or livelihood," thus excluding the many bloggers who aren't compensated.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on May 21, 2009 at 11:20 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

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