A recent court decision rules that bloggers and citizen journalists should not be afforded First Amendment protections. Regardless of what you think about the case or the parties involved, this is just wrong. Jason Stverak explains:
While I encourage the updating of media shield laws for the sake of clarity, it is important to realize that blogs and all new media outlets were granted journalism credentials in 1938.
In the case of Lovell v. City of Griffin (Ga.), Supreme Court Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes defined the press as, “every sort of publication which affords a vehicle of information and opinion.”
The delivery vehicle at the time of the ruling was a pamphlet being handed out by a Jehovah’s Witness. I believe all reasonable people will agree that an electronic medium such as a website is at least on par with a sheet of paper when it comes to serving as a “vehicle of information and opinion.”
Hughes’ words appear to have fallen on deaf ears in state capitols and courtrooms. What cannot be misinterpreted is the will of the people. In the case of deciding who should be recognized as a journalist; bloggers, beat reporters, professors and all advocates of the First Amendment must speak with a unified voice and send a clear message to elected officials and the legal community — bloggers and all citizen-journalists must have the same rights and protections as the rest of the journalism profession.
The non-profit group I lead, the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, has launched an effort to organize the voices of news consumers and the journalism profession in a campaign called Protect Your Voice.
Read the whole thing, then sign the Protect Your Voice petition to give bloggers and other citizen journalists the same rights and protections as the rest of the media. This is a new time we’re in, and love us or hate us, we aren’t going anywhere. Plus, if we weren’t real “journalists” why would organizations like CPAC give us media credentials? (Even if they do treat some of us like second-class members of the media.)
Via Ali Akbar, who is working hard to bring bloggers into the mainstream.