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H.R. 4935 (115th): Journalist Protection Act

The text of the bill below is as of Feb 5, 2018 (Introduced).


I

115th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 4935

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

February 5, 2018

(for himself, Mr. Cohen, Mr. Cicilline, Mrs. Napolitano, Ms. Norton, Mr. Carson of Indiana, Mrs. Dingell, Mr. Soto, Mr. Khanna, Mr. Serrano, Mr. Rush, Ms. Maxine Waters of California, and Ms. Moore) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary

A BILL

To amend title 18, United States Code, to provide a penalty for assault against journalists, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the Journalist Protection Act.

2.

Assault against journalists

(a)

In general

Chapter 7 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

120.

Assault against journalists

(a)

In general

Whoever, in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, intentionally commits, or attempts to commit—

(1)

an act described in subsection (b) shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 3 years, or both; or

(2)

an act described in subsection (c) shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 6 years, or both.

(b)

Bodily injury to a journalist

An act described in this subsection is an act that causes a bodily injury to an individual—

(1)

who is a journalist;

(2)

committed with knowledge or reason to know such individual is a journalist; and

(3)

committed—

(A)

while such journalist is taking part in newsgathering; or

(B)

with the intention of intimidating or impeding newsgathering by such journalist.

(c)

Serious bodily injury to a journalist

An act described in this subsection is an act that causes a serious bodily injury to an individual—

(1)

who is a journalist;

(2)

committed with knowledge or reason to know such individual is a journalist; and

(3)

committed—

(A)

while such journalist is taking part in newsgathering; or

(B)

with the intention of intimidating or impeding newsgathering by such journalist.

(d)

Definitions

For purposes of this section:

(1)

Bodily injury

The term bodily injury has the meaning given such term in section 1365(h)(4) of this title.

(2)

Journalist

The term journalist means an individual who—

(A)

is an employee, independent contractor, or agent of an entity or service that disseminates news or information—

(i)

by means of a newspaper, nonfiction book, wire service, news agency, news website, mobile application or other news or information service (whether distributed digitally or otherwise), news program, magazine, or other periodical (whether in print, electronic, or other format); or

(ii)

through television broadcast, radio broadcast, multichannel video programming distributor (as such term is defined in section 602(13) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. 522(13))), or motion picture for public showing; and

(B)

with the primary intent to investigate events or procure material in order to disseminate to the public news or information concerning local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest, engages in newsgathering.

(3)

Newsgathering

The term newsgathering means engaging in the regular gathering, preparation, collection, photographing, recording, writing, editing, reporting, or publishing concerning local, national, or international events or other matters of public interest.

(4)

Serious bodily injury

The term serious bodily injury has the meaning given such term in section 1365(h)(3) of this title.

.

(b)

Clerical amendment

The table of sections for chapter 7 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

120. Assault against journalists.

.

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