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Monday, February 25, 2013

Ind. Law - More on: Ag-gag bill moves to the full Senate

Updating this ILB entry from Feb. 14th, the Indianapolis Star has this editorial today. A few quotes:

[SB 373] is unnecessary and the cost is too great, not only to investigative journalists, animal rights activists and other keenly interested parties, but also to the general public. * * *

Responding to concerns about the broadness of the legislation, the author, Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, amended it to exempt from prosecution those who turn their photos or videos over to law enforcement or a state regulatory agency within 48 hours. Critics point out, however, that some exposes have been undertaken precisely because the authorities failed to do their job. Sometimes, they have spotlighted conditions that were not illegal but were disturbing enough to inspire new laws.

When government fails to fulfill its watchdog duty, citizens, especially but not exclusively in the news media, must take on that role. A law that preemptively criminalizes that process does a disservice to the public as a whole by blocking the flow of information that may be vital to health and safety. The First Amendment guarantee of press and speech freedom exists to maintain that flow. Senate Bill 373 would do the opposite, in pursuit of a goal that can be met without it.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on February 25, 2013 10:13 AM
Posted to Indiana Law