2018-10-19 10:16:48 #MEAAMedia MediaRoom Submissions

MEAA is gravely concerned that the proposed legislation is neither reasonable nor proportionate. The legislation as it stands carries too few safeguards and exceeds the threats it seeks to manage. It typifies the sledgehammer to crack a walnut approach that is now commonplace in Government attempts to bolster national security and community safety.

MEAA’s journalist members are especially concerned that warrants and orders may be issued in cases where matters of public interest have been reported through the provision of information by confidential sources and which attract penalties under the Commonwealth Crimes Act. The breach of such a confidence by a journalist offends the Code of Ethics and endangers coverage of issues deserving public scrutiny.

We call upon the Committee to set the proposed legislation aside so that a proper period of
consultation – including with the news media industry – can occur. At a bare minimum, we seek the
incorporation of exemptions for persons engaged in journalism and the media industry to ensure that
matters of public interest can continue to be reported without fear of government agencies seeking
warrants and orders to pursue journalists that shine the light on matters of public interest.