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Media Shield Law Passes Senate, Without Feinstein-Durbin Amendment

An amendment Sen. Durbin and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) wanted to add to a federal media shield law failed yesterday in the judiciary committee. The Free Flow of Information Act of 2009 (PDF) passed, however, and it's headed to it's place in line, somewhere behind health care. Senator Durbin's amendment wanted freedom of speech rights to cover journalists that were either paid by salary or independent contract, not those who work independent or voluntarily. Durbin told @848 that the shield law isn't meant for just "anyone who emails." durbinedot But as @GapersBlock editor-in-chief Andrew Huff points out, most of his contributors don't get paid. As they report out their political coverage, however... huff Chicagoist Boss Marcus Gilmer, on the other hand, has the backing of Gothamist, a national network. He says as the media landscape continues to change, limiting the breadth of the law might just increase the confusion both journalists and the public already have about who actually is a journalist. Marcus Gilmer, EIC The House passed its version of the bill in April. If passed, the law would add federal protection to journalists, many of whom are already covered by state media shield laws (Illinois already has some protection for journalists).

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