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S. 2967: Journalist Protection Act

The text of the bill below is as of May 24, 2018 (Introduced).


II

115th CONGRESS

2d Session

S. 2967

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES

May 24, 2018

(for himself and Mr. Menendez) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and 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)

Definitions

In this section:

(1)

Bodily injury; Serious bodily injury

The terms bodily injury and serious bodily injury have the meanings given those terms in section 1365(h).

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

(B)

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

(3)

Newsgathering

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

(b)

Prohibited conduct

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

(1)

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

(2)

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

(c)

Bodily injury to a journalist

An act described in this subsection is an act—

(1)

that causes bodily injury to an individual who is a journalist;

(2)

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

(3)

committed—

(A)

while the journalist is taking part in newsgathering; or

(B)

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

(d)

Serious bodily injury to a journalist

An act described in this subsection is an act—

(1)

that causes serious bodily injury to an individual who is a journalist;

(2)

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

(3)

committed—

(A)

while the journalist is taking part in newsgathering; or

(B)

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

.

(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.

.