Here is a bit of good news from the House of Representatives that affects all of us here on the blogosphere. As reported by J.A. Dlouhy of the Hearst Newspapers, new “legislation that would protect journalists from being forced to reveal confidential sources” has passed the House Judiciary committee. The good news is that this legislation will also cover bloggers.

The bill would cover all journalists, and it broadly defines that group so that in some cases, bloggers and other nontraditional members of the Fourth Estate would get protection.

The Department of Justice is trying to fight this legislation, but so far it has wide bi-partisan support.

Only one thing worries me. That it might have been watered down too far to please the Justice Dept.

Bill backers expanded a list of exceptions in the bill so that a reporter would not be protected in certain cases, such as when divulging a source would prevent imminent death, identify someone who has disclosed a valuable trade secret or finger someone who has illegally shared private health or financial information.

Still, representative Mike Pence (R- Ind.) had a hand in this one and he is a fairly solid conservative vote. So perhaps the alterations still work to protect national security.

Before approving the measure, the Judiciary Committee further expanded the exceptions so reporters would be required to reveal their sources whenever there is “significant specified harm” to national security. Previous versions of the bill required the government to show that harm was “imminent.”

I know that each and every one of you are sick and tired at so-called journalists who all too often seem to get away with murder, but if they are going to get this protection it’s only fair that we in the blogosphere do, as well.

After all, we are just as legitimate as they are. We deserve the same consideration here.

This is just one more step along the road to legitimacy that blogger deserve. It won’t be long before it is taken for granted that bloggers are also real journalists.

In the end, that really is good news for us all.

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