Rough Waters in a Senate Committee

I have to admit my growing frustration with the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee and its handling of Senate Bill 448 — the Free Flow of Information Act.

It’s complicated, of course, but the basic idea is that this legislation would provide federal-level protections for those engaged in journalistic activities. The states have done a great job of providing certain legal protections for reporting, but there’s no equivalent at the federal level.

Though I’m living in South Korea right now, I’m paying close attention to this issue. I’m disappointed that it is one of my state senators — Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. — who is preventing the bill from getting out of the committee. But he’s certainly not the only one.
Yet again, the Judiciary Committee met this week, and yet again, the bill was unable to get to the Senate floor. It’s being buried under an avalanche of amendments that, in my opinion, are designed to weaken — or even kill — this legislation.

One of my colleagues in the Society of Professional Journalists, David Cuillier, posted a blog entry about Thursday’s meeting on SPJ’s blog network.
Here’s a tip of the hat, too, to SPJ and RTDNA (and many others) for staying on top of this and keeping their members informed about it.
You can get a host of information about this issue at SPJ’s website ( and at the Radio Television Digital News Association’s site (

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