WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday included stronger national security protections in a bill to shield reporters in court when they decline to reveal confidential information or sources.

“I hope the committee will complete its consideration of this important legislation next week,” Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chairman, said. If approved, the bill would go to the full Senate.

The House passed similar legislation earlier this year.

Leahy and Democratic Sens. Chuck Schumer of New York and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania have been working with media organizations, other groups and the Obama administration on compromise legislation for the “Free Flow of Information Act.”

On Wednesday, more than 70 news media organizations wrote to Leahy in support of revisions.

The changes, adopted unanimously, would:

— Require a test in which a court would weigh the public interest in the news story at issue.

— Clarify that anyone engaging in activity not protected by the First Amendment could not claim the privilege of a shield against prosecution.

— Adopt review and appeal procedures, including a review of protected material, under seal.

— Cover only individuals who are engaged in journalism, with the intent to engage in journalism at the inception of the activity.

— Make clear that communications providers should not comply with an order to produce information until enforced by a court or authorized in writing by a covered person.

— Clarify that the bill does not pre-empt state laws governing defamation, slander and libel, does not modify grand jury secrecy laws, and does not modify the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

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