Tahlequah Daily Press

April 17, 2012

CN council adopts journalist shield law

Staff Writer

TAHLEQUAH — The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council on Monday unanimously approved an act shielding journalists from punitive or retaliatory action if they refuse to reveal sources for information about official proceedings.

Referred to as the “Free Press Protection and Journalism Shield Act of 2012,” the measure allows journalists to protect sources of published or unpublished information, unless the content is potentially defamatory.

Councilors Chuck Hoskin Jr., Jodie Fishinghawk and Frankie Hargis were the act’s sponsors.

“This would give journalists the freedom from testifying they enjoy in 40 other states across the country,” said Hoskin. “I believe it will enhance our journalists' efforts if they have no fear of being hauled into court to disclose sources. I believe it will enhance our free press if we pass it.”

Councilors also unanimously passed resolutions confirming the nomination of several citizens to board positions. Josh King and Bobby Mayfield were confirmed as commissioners of the Cherokee Nation Housing Authority, and Susan Plumb was confirmed as a board member of the Cherokee Nation Foundation.

All councilors sponsored a bill honoring the late Steve Jobs for his contribution to the Cherokee citizenry in bringing the tribe’s language to modern tools.

The Cherokee syllabary is available as an application for man Apple products, including the iPhone and iPad. The resolution passed unanimously.

In other business, the tribal council passed a resolution to encourage and promote the alternative energy initiative developed by Brian Barlow.