Shield Laws - Protecting Journalists & Their Sources

If elected in 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will ensure Shield Laws give effective protection to journalists and their sources.

The Problem

To maintain a healthy, open society, we need a free media.

Journalists work to hold governments and corporations to account by publishing information that is in the public interest. Often, sources of such information risk their livelihoods by assisting journalists.

In South Australia currently, our journalists don’t have sufficient protection against being compelled to reveal a confidential source in court. This discourages people from sharing information which is in the public interest.

Independent reviews confirm our laws protecting journalists and their sources are not strong enough, and the Weatherill Government has failed to act

The State Liberals Plan

If elected in 2018, a Marshall Liberal Government will ensure Shield Laws give effective protection to journalists and their sources.

Quite simply, people who alert the media to important public issues embody the core values of an open society, which the Liberals actively support.

If journalists are unable to guarantee privacy to their sources, the public will not reap the benefits of openness, and the public debate will be restricted.

The public and journalists are being left behind in South Australia, without consistent protection to both journalists and their sources.

A Marshall Government’s Shield Laws will provide protection to journalistic sources by enabling suppression of their identities.

Our Shield Laws will encourage an open discussion with and accountability to the public. They will require a source to be identified in court only if the public interest in revealing such information outweighs the potential detriment to the source. This is an important transparency measure.

Our Shield Laws will not limit protections to only those in professional media. They will be opened to all contractors or freelancers working to promote debate in the public interest.

Our media need our support to comply with their ethical guidelines to protect sources of information which is in the public interest to have revealed.

A Marshall Liberal Government will continue to advance the interests of transparency, openness and informed debate through Shield Laws and other initiatives.