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Shield Laws

Shield laws are statutes designed to help journalists keep their sources confidential and to protect journalists from unnecessary subpoenas. Journalists cite several reasons why shield laws are needed. First, journalists assert that if they are unable to guarantee anonymity to sources, then individuals will be less likely to share confidential and sensitive information. This hinders the process of investigative journalism that can be beneficial to the public. Second, journalists assert that if the government requests both confidential and nonconfidential information, then journalists actually become investigators for the government. This scenario also forces journalists to waste resources in court proceedings. Third, journalists assert that shield laws protect them from frequent subpoenas from litigation surrounding the content of their work.

The U.S. Supreme Court, in Branzburg v. ...

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