According to Thomas.gov:
Free Flow of Information Act of 2013 – (Sec. 2) Prohibits a federal entity (an entity or employee of the judicial or executive branch or an administrative agency of the federal government with the power to issue a subpoena or other compulsory process), in any proceeding or in connection with any issue arising under federal law, from compelling a covered journalist to disclose protected information, unless a U.S. judge in the jurisdiction where the compulsory process has been or would be issued determines, after providing notice and an opportunity for the journalist to be heard, that all reasonable alternative sources have been exhausted and that separate specified conditions have been met depending on whether the matter is a criminal investigation or prosecution. (Thus, establishes a qualified privilege for journalists to withhold confidential information unless a judge makes a determination to compel disclosure under conditions that apply differently in criminal and civil matters.) (the bold italics are mine)
DaTechGuy posted an interesting article on this today.
As we watch the spectacle of the mainstream media decide which internal investigations are believable (White House investigations on Benghazi & the IRS scandal) and which are not (Chris Christie Bridge Scandal) the Senate Judiciary Committee is advancing a bill “The Free Flow of Information Act of 2013” (S.987) that supposedly enhances freedom of the press by providing journalists with a legal shield in order to keep them from being forced to testify concerning sources.
While the actions of this administration might suggest a need of such a law, there is a huge catch in this bill that’s getting little play. In order to determine who gets this shield privilege the bill devotes seven pages to define who a “journalist” and who is not.
In other words, this bill codifies the government’s the power to decide who is a legitimate journalist and who is not, in effect licensing journalists.
DaTechGuy reminds us of where we would be if the government had declared that Matt Drudge was not a ‘covered’ journalist (remember the blue dress?) or Woodward and Bernstein were not ‘covered’ journalists. The White House already controls the press. There is no need to make it official.