Journalists want the right to protect their sources

The Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, a trade union representing journalists, has called for universal national “shield laws” to protect journalists’ sources. Billionaire mining heiress Gina Rinehart has twice subpoenaed journalists in a bid to force them to reveal the sources of their information about her in newspaper reports and a biography. In both cases, she failed because Western Australia introduced shield laws in 2012, which require that the “starting point will be that if a journalist has promised not to disclose an informant’s identity, that journalist or their employer cannot be forced to give evidence that would disclose the informant’s identity“. While the model Uniform Evidence Act includes a shield provision, it has not been adopted in every State, and is not as broad as the WA law.