In response to the string of recent court cases in which journalists have been compelled to reveal their sources — including the Valerie Plame affair and the Jim Taricani case in Rhode Island — Senator Christopher Dodd yesterday introduced a bill which would create a <a href=”“”>federal shield law for journalists</a>.

Unsurprisingly, the American media is lining up to support Dodd’ “Free Speech Protection Act of 2004”, but Sen. Dodd has already acknowledged that it will be “hard to pass”.

Thirty-one American states already have shield laws, but all the recent high-profile cases have all been federal cases, and there is no federal law to protect journalists from being forced to testify about their sources.