White House presses Congress to revive media protection bill

WASHINGTON Wed May 15, 2013 1:50pm EDT

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the Capitol in Washington May 15, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the National Peace Officers Memorial Service at the Capitol in Washington May 15, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Wednesday sought to revive legislation that would give journalists legal protection when guarding their sources, a move that comes days after the Obama administration revealed it had seized records from the Associated Press news agency in a leak probe.

A White House official confirmed the administration was pushing for the 2009 bill, supported by Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, to be taken up again in Congress.

President Barack Obama has come under fire after the seizure of the AP telephone records, denounced by critics as a gross intrusion into constitutionally protected rights to freedom of the press.

"This kind of law would balance national security needs against the public's right to the free flow of information," Schumer said in a statement on Wednesday. "At minimum, our bill would have ensured a fairer, more deliberate process in this case."

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Richard Cowan; Editing by Doina chiacu)

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