© 2022 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Durbin Ready To Support Media Shield Law

(Official Portrait/via Wikimedia Commons)
U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.

In the wake of U.S. Department of Justice investigations into the activities of reporters, Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said he is ready to support a national media shield law.

But as a guest on Fox News Sunday, the number two Democrat in the Senate said changes in technology make the issue more complicated than it has been in the past.

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

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) joined Durbin on the Sunday morning talk show and said while there is a pressing need to protect national security; the targeting of journalists clearly represents government overreach.  Graham also said a special council should be appointed to investigate Justice Department activities, something Durbin stopped short of  supporting. 

Sexual assault in the military

Durbin also called reports of widespread sexual assault in the military a scourge on the nation’s armed services and said female victims need assurances that they will be protected when they step forward to report alleged crimes.

“We need to make a new culture, when it comes to the command structure within the military, so that this is unacceptable, intolerable and those engaged in it will pay a price,” Durbin said.  “I think we understand that the future of the military is a military with both men and women in leadership.”

Graham said female victims of sexual assault should have an advocate to walk them through the military justice system. 

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.