Do we need law to protect our sources?

Catherine Faas

American blogger Josh Wolf was sent to prison for a month after refusing to give up the anonymity of his sources and his unpublished materials. This situation could have played out even worse if Wolf had been a blogger - without the title of journalist - to defend his right to protect his sources.

In the US, there is currently no law that allows bloggers and citizen journalists to protect their sources. This is troublesome because 66 per cent of professional journalists use blogs to assist in their reporting - making blogs a significant part of the newsgathering process, according to MediaShift.

Should we have a shield law for journalists and bloggers, regardless of their medium of communication?  Here’s what a couple of bloggers say on both sides of the argument.

Pete Jones

Can you fathom the number of people that could then deny the police access to information based on the fact that they write a blog? Hey, I am a blogger. Police need access to information from all sources that have it to prevent and prosecute crime. This is a very important public interest.

On a separate note, I am still amazed that reporters cite the First Amendment as giving them a right to protect their sources. Our Supreme Court has uniformly and repeatedly stated that it doesn't. Thus, the rise in the demand for so-called “shield laws” in the US.

Brent Hopkins

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a nonprofit civil rights group which fights for bloggers rights, your privacy online, and other important issues. If you are concerned about these issues you should go to and join, because we have a much better chance of defending these rights through collective action than we do fighting individually. United we stand, divided we fall.