Alliance for Journalists' Freedom White Paper

White Paper plots law reform pathway for Press Freedom

Holly Friedlander Liddicoat, 14th May 2019
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The Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom (AJF) has released a White Paper that provides seven recommendations for legislative change to strengthen press freedom in Australia.

The Australian organisation AJF was established in 2018 to promote press freedom and the right of journalists to report the news in freedom and safety. It works to reform legislation infringing on journalists’ freedom in Australia and campaigns for journalists’ freedom and safety in the Asia Pacific.

The White Paper's recommendations include a framework underpinned by a Media Freedom Act which would balance press freedom and national security interests while protecting journalists from unwarranted prosecution or civil liability.

Chris Flynn, AJF Director, and Partner at Gilbert + Tobin, reflects on the effects of recent legislative changes: 

“Publishers are telling us that recent changes to law restrict investigative journalism in Australia. They expose journalists to prosecution or excessive civil liability in the course of doing their jobs.”

Each of the White Paper’s recommendations are designed to support journalistic investigation, research and reporting by ensuring transparency and accountability – a cornerstone of democracy.

You can download the White Paper in full. Its seven recommendations cover:

  1. The Media Freedom Act
  2. National Security
  3. Confidentiality of sources
  4. Shield Laws
  5. Whistleblower protections
  6. Defamation and Public Interest
  7. Suppression Orders

Fellow AJF Director and UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland, Professor Peter Greste, says:

“These legislative changes including the Media Freedom Act don’t just serve to strengthen journalism, they will support and strengthen democracy and transparency which, aside from ensuring our democracy remains one of the strongest in the world, will set an example across the region. These recommendations are a potent and necessary step in the right direction.”

For more go to www.journalistsfreedom.com

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