Journalist and attorney Peter Scheer, executive director of the California First Amendment Coalition, says in an op-ed in this morning’s Chronicle that the federal government has eliminated California’s shield law for journalists by jailing Josh Wolf and threatening to jail Mark Fainaru-Wada and Lance Williams. “The U.S. Justice Department’s enforcement proceedings don’t just undermine a valid state policy, they nullify it,” Scheer argues. “This is so because reporters and their sources have no way of knowing, at the time of an interview with a source or the filming of a news event, whether a subpoena will issue from a California state court — in which case it can be safely ignored — or from a federal court, in which case it will be enforced through fines, jail or other sanctions. Because the only safe strategy is to assume that one could end up in front of a federal judge, the state shield law is effectively voided.”

SF Press Club News

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