FARGO, N.D. (AP) — The confiscation of a North Dakota reporter’s cellphone by a Bureau of Criminal Investigation agent has shined a light on the state’s 19-year-old shield law.

The law is aimed at protecting journalists from being forced to turn over notes and other information without a court hearing.

Reporter Tom Simon works for Williston Trending Topics News Radio Live, a Facebook outlet, and Coyote Radio 98.5. He had his phone taken by agents who were looking for anonymous sources he quoted for a story on the Williston school board.

No hearing was held.

Experts say the shield law that was passed by the 2003 Legislature is meant to prevent intimidation of reporters who are gathering news.