South Australia Attorney-General Vickie Chapman
Greater Protection For Journalists
Victor P Taffa
Journalists seeking to shield their sources will have greater protection under new laws which have now passed State Parliament.
Under the laws, a journalist will have clear legal protection when they refuse to disclose a source or information that may lead to the identification of a source.
Attorney-General Vickie Chapman said the laws reflected the Marshall Government’s ongoing commitment to greater transparency and accountability.
“A journalist’s ability to protect their sources is one of the hallmarks of a free and independent press and will improve the functioning of our democracy.” Attorney-General Chapman said.
“Under these laws, journalists will not incur a civil or criminal liability for failing or refusing to answer questions that could reveal a source.”
“A journalist would only be legally required to reveal a source if a court determined there was an overriding public interest.”
“I have no doubt it would be rare for the public interest to override the journalists need to protect their source.” Attorney-General Chapman said.
Court would need to be satisfied that, in the circumstances of a particular case, the public interest in the source’s identity outweighs any of the following factors:
- Potential adverse effect on the source if their identity is disclosed, or the possible adverse effect on others
- Impact the disclosure could have on the media’s ability to communicate relevant news in the public interest
- Potential deterrent to other sources