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NPT Capitol: HB 670: Pope to have less rights than journalists

HB 670 is on the House floor which would give journalists in Texas qualified privilege to not disclose sources in certain situations.

“Under current Texas law, a journalist has no assurance that a whistleblower’s identity or information may be kept confidential without the journalist’s risk of imprisonment,” said state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, in the committee report on the bill.

But state Rep. Debbie Riddle, R-Houston, isn’t a fan of the bill, thinking it gives a special privilege to journalists not afforded to other important folks in society. Martinez-Fischer maintains it is only a “qualified” privilege. (For example, journalists are obliged to cooperate with courts and law enforcement if they have witnessed a felony.)

“Why are these journalists so special?” said Riddle. “If the pope came to America, the pope would not have the same privileges as these journalists.”

A state Rep. just walked past and shouted to the press corps, “You hear that! You’re not as special as the Pope!”

The bill just passed, with one minor amendment.

More to follow…

–Ben Wright

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Written by newspapertreeelpaso

April 1, 2009 at 10:38 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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