shield laws
Statutes in some states that make communications between news reporters and informants confidential and privileged, freeing journalists of the obligation to testify about them in court. This is similar to the doctor-patient, lawyer-client, or priest-parishioner privilege. The goal is to let journalists gather news without being ordered to reveal sources and notes of conversations. In states that have no shield law, many judges have found reporters in contempt of court (and given them jail terms) for refusing to name informants or reveal information gathered on the promise of confidentiality.
Category: Small Claims Court & Lawsuits

Nolo’s Plain-English Law Dictionary. . 2009.


shield laws
n.
1 A law that protects journalists from being compelled to reveal confidential sources.
2 A law limiting or prohibiting the introduction of evidence about the previous sexual activities of the victim in sexual assault and rape cases.

Webster's New World Law Dictionary. . 2000.

shield laws
n.
   statutes enacted in some states which declare that communications between news reporters and informants are confidential and privileged and thus cannot be testified to in court. This is similar to the doctor-patient, lawyer-client or priest-parishioner privilege. The concept is to allow a journalist to perform his/her function of gathering news without being ordered to reveal his/her sources and notes of conversations. In states which have no shield law, many judges have found reporters in contempt of court (and given them jail terms) for refusing to name informants or reveal information gathered on the promise of confidentiality.
   See also: privileged communication

Law dictionary. . 2013.

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