Local Connection: Shield Law

Local Connection: Shield Law

By: Rick Blangiardi

In 2008, the Hawaii state legislature approved one of the most progressive laws in the nation protecting confidential sources who give information to both traditional and non-traditional journalists.

This so-called "shield law" protects journalists, while newsgathering, from being forced to reveal the identity of these sources or unpublished information.

The current statute is not a blanket policy for journalists to do whatever they want.

For instance, it does not apply in felony criminal cases or civil defamation cases if the information can be obtained in any other way.

The information must be necessary and relevant as well.

The sunset on the shield law occurs on June 30 of this year and there are forces at work that would like to see it die or to make substantial amendments as to render it useless.

As the head of a major media organization in town, I believe it is essential for this law to remain on the books unchanged.

In five years, there have been no negative repercussions and only positive resolution.

We urge lawmakers to move affirmatively on house bill 622 and for the senate to move it through to the governor. Let's protect those who would seek to give voice to injustice in Hawaii.

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