Governor signs Shield Law

Kansas State Capitol Building (via citmedialaw.org)

Near the end of March, the Kansas Legislature passed a Shield Law for reporters and journalists. This was a great step and something that is vitally needed in this state. It will “give journalists limited protection against being forced to identify unnamed sources or disclose information they hadn’t published or broadcast,” according to Associated Press writer John Millburn’s report on BusinessWeek.com, and Journalists need this type of protection to ensure they can report important stories where if people are identified they might be put in danger.

Now it is officially a law. On Thursday Gov. Mark Parkinson signed the “bill that helps reporters protect their anonymous sources and unpublished notes” into law, according to The Wichita Eagle’s government blog Wichitopekington.

Here’s what Parkinson said in a written statement, as reported by Wichitopekington:

“Our founding fathers were very meticulous in making certain that our country, including members of the press, received the necessary protections for freedom. The shield law demonstrates that Kansas upholds that belief and respects a reporter’s discretion in disclosing information and sources. While we understand the need for information under extraordinary circumstances, we must allow journalists to perform their jobs without fear of prosecution and continue bringing the news home to Kansans.”

This is wonderful news, and journalists across the state should be celebrating.

The new law will go into effect July 1. I hope to throw a party celebrating it.

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About toddvogts 804 Articles
Todd R. Vogts, MJE, is an assistant professor of media at Sterling College in Kansas. Previously, he taught yearbook, newspaper, newsmagazine, and online journalism in various Kansas high schools, and he ran a weekly newspaper in rural Kansas. He continues to freelance as a professional journalist from time to time. Also, Vogts is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and the Journalism Education Association, among others. When he’s not teaching or writing, he runs his mobile disk jockey service and takes part in other entrepreneurial ventures. He can be reached at twitter.com/toddvogts or via his website at www.toddvogts.com.