Hawaii Legislature Passes Shield Law Protecting Bloggers, too

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By: E&P Staff

Hawaii’s Senate and House on Tuesday passed a shield law that would protect bloggers as well as mainstream reporters from having to reveal their confidential sources or notes.

The bill is expected to be signed into law by Gov. Linda Lingle.

Bloggers and “citizen journalists” would be protected under the law if they are working in the same manner as mainstream reporters, and if the material is in the public interest, according to an account of the legisation Wednesday by Honolulu Advertiser government writer Derrick DePledge.

The bill has a sunset provision to expire in three years.

Reporters could be compelled to disclose soruces or notes in criminal or civil court cases if prosecutors or defense attorneys can show that the material is unavailable anywhere else, is not a repetition of material already available, and is necessary for the defense or prosecution.

Like the U.S. Supreme Court, Hawaii’s highest court, in 1961, ruled in a case involving the Advertiser that reporters do not have a right, under the U.S. First Amendment or the Hawaiian Consitution, to refuse a court order to disclose a source.

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