Kentucky Shield Law not the oldest but one of them

A request came in this week from one of my state press association colleagues, wanting information from each state on their Shield Law. Surprisingly, there are still several states that have not enacted a Shield Law for reporters.

In responding, I said I didn’t know if Kentucky’s Shield Law is the oldest but certainly is among the oldest. After all, the initial Shield Law was put into place by the Kentucky General Assembly in 1942 with some language amended done in 1952. And it hasn’t been touched in the last 66 years.

Kentucky’s is not the oldest by a long shot I found out. That credit goes to Maryland that enacted its Shield Law in 1896. Yep, 1896! But we can still lay claim to one of the oldest in the country.

It’s good for Kentucky to be near the top in some categories, thank goodness.

Here’s the current Kentucky Shield Law language:

421.100 Newspaper, radio or television broadcasting station personnel need not disclose source of information

No person shall be compelled to disclose in any legal proceeding or trial before any court, or before any grand or petit jury, or before the presiding officer of any tribunal, or his agent or agents, or before the General Assembly, or any committee thereof, or before any city or county legislative body, or any committee thereof, or elsewhere, the source of any information procured or obtained by him, and published in a newspaper or by a radio or television broadcasting station by which he is engaged or employed, or with which he is connected.

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