The Australian Greens have backed the right of journalists to protect their sources in the face of attempts by members of the Rinehart family to force reporters to turn over 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 whistle-blowers and contacts should not be intimidated into silence by the powerful."
Senator Ludlam said that the attempts of mining billionaire Gina Rinehart and by her daughter Ginia Rinehart to force West Australian journalists Peter Kerr and Steve Pennells to surrender communications were "a troubling attack on the media".
"When the Australian Greens raised concerns about Ms Rinehart's ambitions at Fairfax and her influence at Channel Ten, we were condemned by her supporters for trying to ‘control' the media. We now see the Rineharts attempting to bully two journalists into betraying the confidence of their sources.
"The Greens have long supported legal protection for journalists' sources. In March last year we worked with the independents and the Government to introduce federal shield laws for journalists."