Lindsey Graham Unsure Whether Bloggers Deserve First Amendment Protection (UPDATE)

UPDATE: 4:30 p.m. -- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) clarified on Twitter Wednesday that he thinks bloggers are entitled to freedom of speech under the First Amendment:


Graham had questioned whether bloggers deserve First Amendment protections when speaking last week about a media shield law he supports.

"Who is a journalist is a question we need to ask ourselves," Graham told reporters at his South Carolina offices May 29, according a Free Times article published Wednesday. "Is any blogger out there saying anything -- do they deserve First Amendment protection? These are the issues of our times."

Of course, bloggers have the same free speech protections as anyone else under the First Amendment. But debate remains over whether they deserve the same protections as journalist under a proposed media shield law.

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) raised similar questions on "Fox News Sunday" on May 26.

"What is a journalist today in 2013? We know it’s someone that works for Fox or AP, but does it include a blogger? Does it include someone who is tweeting? Are these people journalists and entitled to constitutional protection?" he asked. "We need to ask 21st century questions about a provision in our Constitution that was written over 200 years ago."

State courts have ruled both ways on protections for bloggers. A New Jersey judge ruled in April that a woman reporting on county officials on her blog was entitled to the same protections as a journalist. On the other hand, an Oregon judge said in 2011 that a Montana woman who termed herself an "investigative blogger" was not entitled to protection under the state's media shield law, and let stand a $2.5 million defamation suit against her.



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