Guam - Over the weekend, Senator Ray Tenorio (R) teamed up with Committee on Public Safety chairman Senator Adolpho Palacios (D) to introduce Bill 398 - The Guam Privacy Protection Act. The lawmakers say the measure mirrors the federal Privacy Protection Act, which provides certain protections against search and seizures of documents from newsrooms.

Senator Palacios says the measure is clearly needed in light of last week's search conducted by the Guam Police Department of KUAM's studios in Harmon.  "This local statute, which would mirror the federal statute, would actually provide for a penalty - not just disallow what was obtained during a search in a newsroom and would criminalize it," he explained.

Palacios adds the bill would force a requesting agency to put more consideration into searches they conduct.  

Senator Tenorio meanwhile further discussed the intent of the measure during today's Rotary Club of Guam meeting, saying the bill would impose clear consequences for violating the journalistic integrity of news organizations.  "If they violate this, there's not just going to be a civil penalty, there's not going to just be consequences on the civil side, there's also going to be possible criminal responsibility and that means a 3rd degree felony as proposed in this bill," the senator stated.