National Press Club Statement on House Passage of PRESS Act

WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — Following is a statement from Eileen O’Reilly, president of the National Press Club, and Gil Klein, president of the National Press Club Journalism Institute, on the passage of legislation in the House that would create a federal shield law protecting journalists from being compelled by federal law enforcement to reveal their sources.

“We gladly welcome the bipartisan vote by House lawmakers to pass legislation from Reps. Kevin Kiley (R-Calif.) and Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) to create a federal shield law for journalists. The PRESS Act helps protect the First Amendment freedoms in our Constitution, which are key to our democracy. This step is long overdue.

“This isn’t the first time the House has passed legislation to create statutory protection for journalists and their anonymous sources. The House passed earlier versions of the legislation in 2022 and 2007, but those bills died in the Senate. The Senate must now rectify this wrong and swiftly pass this legislation offering vital protections to the working press and their sources, who must sometimes remain anonymous for their own safety.

“Individual journalists have gone to considerable lengths — including spending time in jail — to resist subpoena demands to reveal their sources’ identities. And newsrooms have incurred steep legal bills fighting such subpoenas. If the Senate follows the House’s lead and passes this federal shield law, it will send a message that our First Amendment freedoms must be protected and will offer a measure of stability to journalists who face varying protections in different states.”

Founded in 1908, the National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists. The Club has 3,000 members representing nearly every major news organization and is a leading voice for press freedom in the United States and around the world.

The National Press Club Journalism Institute promotes an engaged, global citizenry through an independent and free press and equips journalists with the skills and standards to inform the public in ways that inspire a more representative democracy. The NPCJI is the nonprofit affiliate of the National Press Club.

Contact: Bill McCarren, 202-662-7534 for the National Press Club

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National Press Club Statement on House Passage of PRESS Act WeeklyReviewer

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