The Australian Greens welcomed the passage of new shield laws for journalists and whistleblowers through the Senate today.
The Greens shadow spokesperson for Communications, Senator Scott Ludlam, successfully secured amendments to the bill to afford the protection of the shield laws to citizen-journalists, bloggers and independent media organisations as well as news professionals from the mainstream media.
"Effective shield laws for journalists and public service whistle-blowers act as an encouragement to vigilance and integrity," said Senator Ludlam. "If journalists cannot protect their sources, we will not have people coming forward to expose wrong-doing and abuses of power."
The amendments to the EVIDENCE AMENDMENT (JOURNALISTS' PRIVILEGE) BILL 2010 of which the senator speaks are as follows:
(2) Schedule 1, item 1, page 3 (lines 13 and 14), omit “in
the normal course of that person’s work”, substitute “is
engaged and active in the publication of news”.
(3) Schedule 1, item 1, page 3 (line 17), omit “a medium”,
substitute “any medium”.
One has to wonder if Scott Ludlum is being a trifle optimistic with regard to how the courts may view these clauses and just how far they may protect bloggers.