Ask Congress to ‘Raise the Shield.’ Now

St. Louis Pro chapter members and others who support journalists in protecting their sources from government interference are asked to act immediately and contact their U.S. senators.

The reason: Congress is considering the Free Flow of Information Act, and it’s imperative to contact the senators by Friday to ask them to pass a federal shield law. Sonny Albarado, SPJ’s national president, issued the call earlier this week.

“SPJ is gearing up again to fight for a federal shield law to protect journalists and their sources from unwarranted snooping by government prosecutors and other lawyers,” he said.

SPJ Pro Chapter President Tammy Merrett-Murry urges local support.

“Whistleblowers may not come forward if their identities could be revealed by journalists in court. Journalists rely on confidential sources for investigative reporting,” she said. “A federal shield law not only protects journalists but it protects the public’s right to know.”

How can you help?

1. Go to http://www.spj.org/shieldlaw.asp and find contact information for your two senators. Check out the information on the Web page about the shield law.

2. Email or call both senators by Friday. SPJ’s national office has provided information on the webpage to help you craft an email or message to your liking.

3. Let SPJ know once you’ve contacted your senators by emailing shield@spj.org. A map showing which states have been covered will be updated. SPJ hopes to have the entire nation blanketed by Friday!

4. Tell your friends, particularly those at your state’s major newspapers and TV stations, to do the same.

5. Send out messages on social media, such as Twitter and Facebook.

6. Write editorials and stories about the federal shield law. SPJ has included contact information for quotable experts. Educate the public!

7. Check back into the SPJ shield law page and follow it for the latest news on the pending bills. We will likely need everyone’s help again if the bills come up for a vote.

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