Six Republican state representatives in Georgia have moved to create an "ethics board" for journalists that would require news organizations to provide copies of pictures and audio and video recordings of interviews to subjects who request them or risk civil penalty.
The cost of meeting those requests would be paid by the news organizations.
The proposed legislation, House Bill 734, titled the "Ethics in Journalism Act," was sponsored Tuesday by Rep. Andy Welch, who represents the city of McDonough.
The bill would create a board of media professionals and academics that would produce"a canon of ethics" and "develop a voluntary accreditation process in journalism ethics," which would also allow for the investigation and sanctioning of journalists.
The proposed board appears to have little power to punish journalists other than to remove its own accreditation or impose a penalty if the interview request provision is not met.
Welch also announced that he was retiring from Georgia's legislature at the end of its session on Tuesday, but that the bill would remain available for consideration during the state's 2020 legislative session, according to The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
And of course, the state could then pass laws that would only allow the state to deal with "properly accredited" journalists, who of course would then have to turn over copies of all interview material to subjects on demand.
It would be the end of investigative journalism and a free press, which is of course very much the point of the "ethics board". If your immediate response is "no newspaper or TV station would touch a state legislator, cop, or politician with this law in place" then congrats, you see where this is going.
And believe me, Trump is taking notes. This will be sold as "fixing fake news" and news outlets will be expected to play or perish.
We get a little closer to fascism.