In Legal Affairs

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

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