Queensland's journalist shield laws will now include CCC investigations
Queensland Crime and Corruption Commission investigations will now be included in the state’s recent shield laws after months of lobbying by MEAA.
Queensland Attorney-General Shannon Fentiman said the government will draft new laws to “provide protection of journalists’ confidential sources in the context of CCC investigations and hearings”.
MEAA has spent more than 20 years campaigning for shield laws that protect journalists and ensure the identity of their sources is not compromised, so wrongdoing and illegality can be exposed without fear of reprisal.
MEAA Media Director Adam Portelli said: “We welcome this important step to correct a flaw in Queensland’s shield laws by ensuring journalist privilege is protected for CCC hearings. That provides assurance for whistleblowers who seek out journalists so that they can tell the truth knowing that their identity is protected. This protection is often most necessary in corruption investigations.”
MEAA continues to call for harmonisation of shield laws around the country through a uniform national regime. “The Queensland Government has pointed out that shield laws vary in each jurisdiction in Australia. Borderless digital publishing means the public’s right to know is still not assured in states that lack comprehensive protections. That’s why we need a uniform national shield law regime right across Australia,” he said.
The Queensland decision to include shield law protection to its anti-corruption body comes amid the CCC’s action against ‘Journalist F‘ who has maintained his ethical obligation to protect the identity of a confidential source. “MEAA hopes that this proposal from the Queensland Government may allow the CCC to drop its dangerous prosecution of ‘Journalist F’,” Portelli said.
MEAA will closely examine the draft law when it is available.