Journalists' Privilege to Withhold Information in Judicial and Other Proceedings: State Shield Statutes [June 27, 2007] [open pdf - 212KB]
"Absent a statutory or constitutional recognition of journalistic privilege, a reporter may be compelled to testify in legal, administrative, or other governmental proceedings. To date, 33 states and the District of Columbia have recognized a journalists' privilege through enactment of press 'shield laws,' which protect the relationship between reporters, their source, and sometimes, the information that may be communicated in that relationship. Another 16 states have adopted a journalists' privilege through court decisions; Wyoming is the only state without a legislatively or judicially adopted journalists' privilege. The journalists' privilege is distinct from other recognized privileges, in that the privilege vests only with the journalist, not with the source of the information. This report briefly provides a brief overview of the state shield statutes and then sets forth the full text of each."
CRS Report for Congress, RL32806