INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mike Pence is no longer a member of Congress, but that's not stopping him from pushing for the federal media shield law he championed during his 12 years in Washington, D.C.
The Republican governor wrote Thursday to U.S. House and Senate leaders, as well as Indiana's Congressional delegation, urging them to approve the Free Flow of Information Act in the wake of Obama administration's snooping on reporter phone records.
The proposal, which passed the House in 2007 and 2009 but died both times in the Senate, would protect reporters from being forced to reveal confidential sources, except in the case of imminent death or terrorist attack, and bar government agencies from obtaining reporter telephone records without approval by a federal judge.
Pence said a federal media shield law will ensure a reporter's confidential sources remain willing to share information, and, more importantly, will protect the public's right to know.
"Free speech and a free press are the underpinnings of our open system of government," Pence said. "The press allows our citizens to serve as watchdogs, speaking out about and exposing what are often illegal, corrupt or dangerous activities by both private and government actors."
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has said the Senate will consider federal media shield legislation "as soon as possible."
Indiana law, since 1941, provides reporters absolute protection against being compelled to disclose the source of any information gathered in the course of their employment.