Journalism Shield Laws in the Digital Age


As the law that involves the Internet continues to develop, New Jersey has addressed the question of whether bloggers are protected by the same shield laws that are applicable to journalists.

Under journalism shield laws, mainstream media is afforded certain protections. For example, in court proceedings, reporters are allowed to withhold the identity of their sources and other information. Because the majority of these laws pre-date the Internet, definitions of “journalist” are generally limited to traditional print, radio, and television media.

However, as more people turn to the Internet and to blogs for news and information, courts are increasingly being asked to determine whether new media should be granted the same statutory protections that apply to traditional journalists. Bloggers and other Internet news sources argue that, if they are engaged in journalism, they should be protected regardless of their official title or pedigree.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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