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1. Patricia Pomerleau CEOExpressSelect Member
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     (10/15/2017 1:30:58 PM)
     Message ID #292117

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It's hardly a new idea, but in light of the tightening restrictions to all our freedoms originally guaranteed by the Bill of Rights, shouldn't journalists exercising their First Amendment rights be licensed just as, for example, citizens exercising their Second Amendment rights?

More lawmakers are beginning to think so. Indiana lawmaker Jim Lucas, R-Seymour has drafted a bill requiring state police to license journalists. So has Rep. Mike Pitts of Laurens, South Carolina. As reported in USA Today,

A lawmaker in the vice president's home state has drafted a bill that would require state police to license professional journalists.

Rep. Jim Lucas, a Republican from Seymour, Ind., had the measure drawn up earlier this year and said he may file it to drive home a point about his signature issue — gun rights.

'If you’re OK licensing my Second Amendment right, what’s wrong with licensing your First Amendment right?' he said.

In Indiana, Lucas has been critical of media coverage of his efforts to repeal an Indiana law that requires a permit to carry a handgun. He said reporters, columnists and editorial boards frequently mischaracterize the idea, which is sometimes referred to as 'constitutional carry.'

'If I was as irresponsible with my handgun as the media has been with their keyboard, I’d probably be in jail,' he said.

His proposal would require professional journalists to submit an application to the Indiana State Police. Journalists would be fingerprinted as part of the process and would have to pay a $75 fee for a lifetime license. Those with felony or domestic battery convictions would be prohibited from getting a license.

The proposal is almost an exact copy of Indiana’s law requiring a license to carry a handgun, which Lucas has tried to repeal unsuccessfully for several years.
Naturally, journalists' professional organizations have gotten in line with the NRA and the CCRKBA to push back claiming 'infringement.' Isn't what's good for the goose ...
'Every so often legislators try to introduce these types of bills as attention-grabbing stunts,' said Andrew Seaman, ethics committee chairman for the Society of Professional Journalists. 'The truth is that there are already a number of restrictions on the First Amendment. We have libel laws, copyright laws and countless others that rein in the speech and press rights under the First Amendment.'

A requirement that puts state police in charge of licensing members of the media could have a chilling effect, said Gregg Leslie, legal defense director for the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press in Washington.

'The obvious problem is that it means the government gets to decide who gets to practice journalism,' he said. 'When you undermine the press, you’re ultimately preventing people from becoming informed.'

USA Today:
Should we accept limits to our First Freedoms for the good of the order?
  • When the only printing presses in existence were expensive, massive, and affordable only by legitimate newspapers, the First Amendment limited itself. Now, anyone can buy a computer and access the Internet without a permit or a 3-day waiting period. Anyone can conceal a browser-equipped smartphone with audio and video recording capability without a license.

  • When it's no longer necessary to 'buy ink by the barrel' for a printing press the size of Rhode Island, doesn't the First Freedom deserve the scrutiny, restrictions, and responsibilities of the Second?

  • Cyber-stalking, cyber-crime, and cyber-bullying often result in death, destruction, financial mayhem, and suicides in numbers that should evoke concern. Cyber criminals rarely are found, and cyber crimes usually go unprosecuted. Isn't a cyber-criminal worse than an open criminal?

  • Finally, with the (inter)national problem of fake news, would licensing journalists return integrity to the profession? What do you think?

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Message edited by user at 11/1/2017 11:08:27 PM
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