72 major news organizations and associations have asked Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) not to water down the federal media shield bill that his committee is now taking up. The Free Flow of Information Act, introduced in the Senate by Arlen Specter (formerly the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, before his party switch), would exempt journalists from being compelled to reveal confidential sources in federal court, with exceptions (e.g. national security, threat of death and significant bodily harm). Needless to say, the news industry likes it: confidential sources give us things like Watergate and Enron, and journalists don't like knowing that the iron-clad agreements they make with sources can be pried open by federal courts with threats of imprisonment, or actual prison time. And lots of members of Congress agree: the House passed it by voice vote March 31. See the letter and list of news organizations after the jump:
"I'm exploiting the maximum of what you can ask a piece of metal to do."