Hawaii Shield Law Protecting Journalists Under Fire — Again

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UPDATED 8/31/12 11:49 a.m.

Media outlets and First Amendment advocates are already gearing up for a fight next legislative session over a state law that protects journalists from being forced to reveal sources and turn over notes.

Hawaii's shield law, as it's commonly called, will sunset June 30 unless lawmakers take action.

The Society for Professional Journalists, Media Council Hawaii, Honolulu attorneys and others are forming a coalition of supporters in their mission to make the law permanent and stave off attacks to weaken it.

Gerald Kato, a University of Hawaii journalism professor and Media Council Hawaii board member, said the news media needs to mobilize now for the upcoming legislative session that starts in January.

"It's a good law, as written ... one of the best in the country," he said Thursday. "It should be a permanent part of Hawaii law and not fade into the sunset."

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