‘Shield Act’ expected to become law

‘Shield Act’ expected to become law
(MN File Photo) The Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council passed legislation establishing the ‘Shield Act’ for Mvskoke Media editorial content Feb. 23 at the Mound Building in Okmulgee, Oklahoma.

Liz Gray/Reporter

New board would have news content oversight

OKMULGEE, Oklahoma — The Muscogee (Creek) Nation National Council passed NCA 19-031 creating a new law entitled ‘Shield Act,’ during regular session Feb. 23.

The bill along with other legislation passed by Council is pending review and signature from Principal Chief James Floyd as of Feb. 28.

“I don’t see any problems this month and those will be signed before the end of the week,” Floyd said.

The legislation sponsored by David Hill, Robert Hufft, Travis Scott, Darrell Proctor and Adam Jones amends Title 16 Chapter 11 titled, ‘Mvskoke Media,’ placing editorial independence for Mvskoke News, Mvskoke Radio and Mvskoke Vision but does not include Mvskoke Creative, which includes graphic design, printing and marketing.

The fate of the division under the Mvskoke Media umbrella is still up in the air.

“In terms of opportunities that exist on the non-media side, I think that we are still looking at things,” Floyd said. “I anticipate though probably in the next 30-60 days we will have something worked out.”

“I don’t see anybody losing their job over the change in legislation, I think if anything there are more opportunities. We’re just looking at what they are and how that is going to be allocated throughout the tribe.”

An addition to the legislation is section D under ‘Policy.’

The language reads ‘Mvskoke Media broadcasts and publications shall not be considered an official capacity of Muscogee (Creek) Nation and shall not include the Muscogee (Creek) Nation official seal on any materials.’

According to legislative language, the Shield Act would affirm the independence of a free media at the Nation by providing protection of journalistic sources and information from disclosure.

A new editorial board would be reestablished and consist of three members, one selected by the Principal Chief, one by National Council and the third to be selected by members of the board.

Board members will only meet when requested to review editorial content and will not receive a stipend for their position but will receive reimbursement of reasonable expenses for their duties such as mileage and $50 per meeting, not to exceed two meetings a month.

Deadline to have an editorial board in place is May 1.

All editorial content and review shall be at the discretion of the Mvskoke Media Managing Editor and Editorial Board with financial oversight and budgeting authority placed between the Mvskoke Media Director and the Secretary of the Nation and Commerce.

The Mvskoke Media Director position is currently vacant.

Mvskoke Media was placed under the executive branch in November 2018 with the repeal of Title 49, which had the department established as an independent statutory agency.

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