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Greens back journalists in fight against the real threat to press freedom

Media Release
Scott Ludlam 2 Apr 2013

The Australian Greens have backed the right of journalists to protect their sources in the face of more attempts by Gina Rinehart to force reporters to turn over notes and correspondence relating to news articles.

The Greens communications spokesperson, Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, said the right to protect sources was critical to journalists doing their job.

"We must have a fiercely independent press, and journalists and whistle-blowers must not be intimidated into silence by the powerful. I welcome the Media Alliance's campaign to stop this attack on press freedom.

"Ms Rinehart has world-class journalists Steve Pennells and Adele Ferguson in her sights - and they aren't the first reporters she has pursued vendettas against."

Senator Ludlam said that the attempts of mining billionaire and aspiring media baron Ms Rinehart to force journalists to surrender communications were "an attack on the media that is as dangerous as it is audacious".

"When the Greens raised the alarm about Ms Rinehart's ambitions at Fairfax and Channel Ten, we were condemned by her supporters for trying to ‘control' the media, yet Ms Rinehart has long attempted to bully journalists into silence and into betraying their sources. This reveals the real threat to press freedom in Australia; the vindictiveness and aggression of the powerful.

"The Australian Greens have long supported legal protection for journalists' sources. In March 2011 we worked with the independents and the Government to introduce federal shield laws for journalists."


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