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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Pence to Defend Journalist Shield Law Proposal at Distinguished Journalist Lecture at The Heritage Foundation

Rep. Mike Pence, R-IN, has introduced "The Free Flow of Information Act" that would establish a limited shield for journalists at the federal level similar to those already in place in a majority of states.

Pence will discuss the Judith Miller case, bloggers and his shield law proposal when he delivers the Distinguished Journalist Lecture at The Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. next Tuesday, 10/25, at 11:00 a.m.

Pence is chairman of the House Republican Study Committee, which represents the conservative members of the GOP in the lower chamber of Congress. He is a former Talk Radio host and one of the first Members of Congress to establish a blog.

Critics within and without the journalism community have expressed legitimate reservations about the Pence proposal, especially with regard to the propriety of legislation defining who is and who is not a journalist and the scope of the privilege.

A similar bill introduced in the Senate by Sen. Richard Lugar, R-IN, does not include bloggers under its definition. But these are problems that can be dealt with reasonably as part of the legislative process, if the legislation moves forward. For that to happen, journalists and bloggers need to recognize their common interest and work together, at least on this issue.

The event is open to the public and bloggers in the national capitol are especially encouraged to attend and post on Pence's presentation. Bloggers who wish to live-blog the event should contact: Mark Tapscott at 202-608-6155 or Mark.Tapscott@Heritage.org.