A bipartisan group of senators and House members reintroduced legislation Wednesday that would prohibit the government from seeking confidential information and sources from reporters.
The move is aimed at strengthening press freedom by protecting journalists from government efforts to force them to reveal the identities of their sources, according to Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Richard J Durbin, D-Ill., who spearheaded the Senate bill, and Reps. Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Kevin Kiley, R-Calif., who introduced the House companion.
First introduced in 2022, the legislation comes on the heels of revelations that the Justice Department under former President Donald Trump obtained records from reporters at outlets including CNN, the Washington Post and the New York Times.
“Surveillance of reporters to learn the identity of their sources is a finger in the eye of the First Amendment,” Wyden said in a statement Wednesday. “Unnecessary surveillance of journalists makes it harder to bring waste, fraud and abuse to light, by intimidating sources and reporters who are essential to a well-functioning democracy.”
“As America’s founders recognized, the freedom of the press to report and disseminate information is essential to our republic,” Kiley said in a statement released by him and Raskin. “Our bipartisan legislation further codifies these First Amendment principles into law and will reduce the federal government’s violation of the Constitution.”