WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to pass Representatives Jamie Raskin (D-MD) and Kevin Kiley’s (R-CA) Protect Reporters from Exploitative State Spying (PRESS) Act. The PRESS Act would establish a federal statutory privilege to protect journalists from being compelled to reveal their sources and prevent federal law enforcement from abusing subpoena power. The legislation would be the first federal press shield law of its kind.
“In a giant step forward for press freedom in America, the House Judiciary Committee passed our PRESS Act with unanimous bipartisan support,” said Rep. Raskin. “The Constitution promises that no law shall abridge the freedom of the press and instructs us to protect journalists from government overreach and abuse of power, and today this committee has made good on that promise. I’m thankful to my colleagues on the Judiciary Committee for unanimously supporting the PRESS Act, and I look forward to seizing this momentum to pass it into law.”
The PRESS Act is supported by a broad coalition of press and media freedom organizations and advocates, including the ACLU, ARTICLE 19, Center for Democracy & Technology, Coalition For Women In Journalism, Committee to Protect Journalists, Defending Rights and Dissent, Demand Progress, Electronic Frontier Foundation, First Amendment Coalition, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Government Information Watch, Institute for Nonprofit News, Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University, National Association of Broadcasters, New York News Publishers Association, News/Media Alliance, Online News Association, PEN America, Project for Privacy & Surveillance Accountability, Protect the 1st Foundation, Radio Television Digital News Association, Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Reporters Without Borders (RSF), Society of Professional Journalists, Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, Granitt, Illinois Eagle, J. The Jewish News of Northern California, Tucson Sentinel and Arizona Press Club.
Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR), Mike Lee (R-UT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the bill’s companion legislation in the Senate.
A longstanding advocate for press freedom, Rep. Raskin has pursued press shield legislation since his arrival to Congress in 2017. Rep. Raskin previously introduced a bipartisan federal press shield bill in 2017. That bill was based on a 2007 press shield bill (H.R. 2102) that passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support on a 398-21 vote and was championed by then-Congressman Mike Pence. Last fall, his PRESS Act passed the House with unanimous, bipartisan support, but unfortunately did not advance in the Senate.