The core mission of newspapers is to gather and publish news and information for the local communities they serve. NAA advocates before the executive and legislative branches on First Amendment and open government issues in support of newspapers’ newsgathering activities.
A top priority is the enactment a federal shield law that would enable journalists to protect confidential sources when subpoenaed in criminal and civil cases. While 49 states and the District of Columbia provide some legal protection for journalists and their sources, there is no similar law at the federal level. Such a law would protect the free flow of information and the public’s right to know.
Other issues include, but are not limited to, reform of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and educating policy makers on the importance of publishing public notices in local newspapers, which allows important information to reach citizens, particularly those who do not have access to the Internet.
July 18, 2011
Last week, NAA joined the National Newspaper Association and the American Court and Commercial Newspapers in submitting comments to the Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Justice opposing proposed changes to their public notice rules. Both agencies would allow for the publication of public notices, related to changes in Medicaid benefits and to forfeitures by law enforcement agencies, only on government websites.
August 18, 2010
On Aug. 10, President Obama signed a bill that will help American victims of libel tourism. Foreign plaintiffs are often called “libel tourists” when they sue American writers or publishers in foreign courts for defamation because those jurisdictions – such as England – have very plaintiff-friendly libel laws. The suits proceed even though the foreign plaintiff and the American defendant have little to no ties to the foreign jurisdiction.