Journalists Group Criticizes Administration Over Media Shield Lobbying

The Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) criticized the Bush administration today for lobbying Congress to oppose the so-called "media shield" bill, officially titled the Free Flow of Information Act.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Attorney General Michael Mukasey all sent letters to key senators each sent letters to Senate leaders and key committee chairmen expressing intelligence, security, and law enforcement concerns over the bill. The Justice Dept. also launched a website yesterday dedicated to opposing the bill.

The bill, introduced by Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), seeks to "protect the free flow of information to the public" by providing conditions under which the government can compel journalists to release information. The administration says these conditions are too restrictive.

"This is the Administration