WASHINGTON—Yesterday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the PRESS Act. The bill, a federal press shield law with bipartisan support, would prohibit federal law enforcement from compelling journalists to disclose protected information on work or personal devices and accounts, except in limited circumstances such as to prevent terrorism. It also protects third parties, including social media companies, from being compelled to provide testimony, information, or communication stored by the third party on behalf of a journalist. In 2022, the Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University endorsed the act as part of a broad coalition of leading free speech and press freedom groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Committee to Protect Journalists, and the Freedom of the Press Foundation.

The following can be attributed to Nadine Farid Johnson, policy director at the Knight First Amendment Institute.

“We commend the passage of the PRESS Act in the House. Law enforcement actions requiring the disclosure of source materials can impair investigative newsgathering and reporting, and the American public relies on a free press to participate in democracy and hold powerful actors to account. This federal shield bill is critical to a free press, protecting journalists from state-sanctioned surveillance and reaffirming their First Amendment rights. We thank Representatives Kiley and Raskin for their leadership on the act, and urge its swift passage in the Senate, where it also has strong bipartisan support.”

Learn more about the bill here.

Read the coalition letter here.

For more information, contact: Adriana Lamirande, Knight First Amendment Institute, [email protected]