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US source protection bill amended to exclude WikiLeaks

The furore surrounding WikiLeaks continues this week, as US Senators reportedly working on a “media-shields” legislation to protect journalists from revealing sources are making amendments to ensure no such protection can be afforded to the whistleblowing site.

According to a report by the NYTimes.com, senators Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein are drafting the amendment to outline that the bill’s protections would “extend only to traditional news-gathering activities and not to websites that serve as a conduit for the mass dissemination of secret documents”.

Quoting Schumer in a statement he claims the amendments will ensure there is no chance of the law ever being used to protect websites like WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks should not be spared in any way from the fullest prosecution possible under the law. Our bill already includes safeguards when a leak impacts national security, and it would never grant protection to a website like this one, but we will take this extra step to remove even a scintilla of doubt.

According to the NYTimes.com report, the new bill would require a person to “exhaust all other means” of getting the names they desire before they could take a journalist to court. But they add the amendment may be unecessary due to the method by which the website sources and stores its information.

According to WikiLeaks, the website uses a technology which makes it impossible to trace the source of documents that are submitted to it. So even if the organisation were compelled to disclose a source, it is not clear that it would be able to do so

See the full report here…

Also in WikiLeaks news, the Washington Post reports that the Broadcasting Board of Governors have ordered that the Voice of America “may proceed with reporting on the disclosure of classified documents”. This follows claims that IT personnel at the International Broadcasting Bureau told VOA journalists not to read or email the material on government computers.

The matter was added to the agenda at Friday’s gathering of the new board, which passed a unanimous resolution in closed session that “authorized the Director of the Voice of America to proceed with reporting on the disclosure of classified documents available on the WikiLeaks website in a manner that is consistent with the VOA Charter and the BBG’s statutory mission, and to balance this effort with due consideration for the laws and executive orders” on using classified information.

See the full post here…

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  • dt

    Disturbing that Schumer is on the wrong side on this one. This is exactly not the time to make a political concession. By definition “traditional journalism” means that that is not the only kind of journalism. They are creating a bill that is already outdated.

  • jcnars

    This is just killing the messenger. They have a burning problme of a war going wrong. But they are more intent on shooting the whistleblower.

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  • Judith Bardell

    So, if WikiLeaks posts non-government secrets, about, say, criminal activity by drug cartels, are they to be required to give their sources or head to jail?

    Laws should be crafted to ban activities deemed not in the public interest, and should govern everyone equally. To do otherwise would be unconstitutional, would it not? We are all entitled to equal protection under the law.

  • Alexander Montagnani

    Would wiki leaks be protected by the geneva convention?Doesnt a private individual have the right to stop an organisation by whatever needs necessary if the organisation breaks the rules of war?

    Here in the UK several persons where aquitted this month after they destroyed offices of an arms manufacturer as the jury believed that the arms company was complicit in the human rights abuses in Palestine.
    Correct me if im wrong.
    Thank You.

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  • Kyle

    Wimps. Either you want to protect sources or you don’t. Exceptions are hogwash.

  • GeorgieBC

    The default for public organizations and government = total transparency. The default for private citizens = total privacy. What happened, Democracy?

  • http://google manne

    Assange Helps Obama with the new world order and Transparency..

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