Shield and Sword: An Argument for the passage of a Free Flow of Information Act
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In the following pages, I address the debate surrounding this Act through a literature review that dates from the 1970s and includes law journal articles and mainstream-newspaper articles published during and in the aftermath of Judith Miller's imprisonment. More specifically, this project aims to contextualize and ultimately argue for the passage of a bill that would support a qualified reporters' privilege to maintain source confidentiality. I argue that although reporters are certainly not without fault for publicizing sensitive information of questionable value to the "public good, II leaks are more often better indicators of institutional problems than of reporting problems; reporters have historically communicated crucial revelatory information central to the foundation of democratic governance. There is, I argue, sufficient precedent to pass a reporters' shield bill. Weighing reporters' history of reporting leaks against state actions made in the name of national security, and considering the recent rash of subpoenas issued to reporters, revision and passage of the Free Flow of Information Act are urgently necessary articulations and applications of the First Amendment. The Act provides the opportunity for dissemination of information and inspired debate that is essential to any democracy. Reporter's privilege, this paper asserts, is the public's right.