Shield Law

Definition - What does Shield Law mean?

A shield law grants journalists the privilege to refuse to disclose confidential information and sources of confidential information in legal proceedings.

Typically, if the government can prove a connection between the information desired and a compelling state interest for needing the information that a journalist refuses to give, a court will override shield law privileges.

Justipedia explains Shield Law

The protections offered by a shield law reflect the belief that journalism is essential to a healthy democracy. A shield law protects a journalist from an aggressive prosecutor or government agency who tries to use a reporter’s notes as evidence or who wants to intimidate a journalist who exposes government corruption.

In the last few decades, shield laws have also been enacted to protect the victims of sexual abuse from having their sexual history put on trial.

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