Protecting Journalists, protecting sources

29 April 2011 - "Balmain is the home to a wide array of people who work in the media and on line. Ensuring the protection of news media sources is a matter that I know many local residents feel strongly about," said Greens MP for Balmain Jamie Parker.

"I share the belief in transparency and independent journalism and that is the reason I intend to argue for this legislation in the first session of this new Parliament."

"A core function of news outlets, whether online or print, is to hold the government of the day to account. This function is severely limited if the government is able to muzzle news reporters by demanding they reveal their sources.

"Journalists' sources need to be able to speak freely, without fear of retribution from governments or their employers. Without this freedom we will not have people willing to come forward and speak the truth in the face of government or private pressure."

David Shoebridge, Greens MLC and Justice Spokesperson said:

"The legislation proposed by the Greens complements the Evidence Amendment Journalists' Privilege Bill 2011 brought into Federal Parliament by Independent MP Andrew Wilkie. It will ensure the protection for journalists sources in proceedings in the Local, District and Supreme Courts in NSW.

"This Bill also gives protection to both the print media and online media. The recent federal legislation failed to recognise the modern reality of news, that anyone with access to the internet is a potential source of news, whether employed as a journalist or not.

"When a journalist faces the threat of court orders, including potential gaol, for standing up to a government agency in order to protect the confidential source they used to give the public its first insight into how the Crime Commission was cutting multi-million dollar deals with organised crime figures, it is clearly time for the legislature to act."

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