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Panpa Bulletin : April 2007
12 PANPA Bulletin April 2007 news Proposed shield laws rejected By Jack Beverley Proposed national shield laws that would protect Australian journalists' sources have been rejected by the country's state Attorneys-General. Instead of adopting the laws, as had been widely assumed, the nation's senior law makers are calling for a report on whether they need to be reinforced by federal whistleblower protection legislation. The state Attorneys-General, at a mid- April summit in Canberra, also split on the overall concept, which is based on NSW legislation. NSW, Victoria and the ACT are generally supportive of the Commonwealth's plans; the other jurisdictions either oppose the proposals or want further consultation. Those supporting the proposed shield laws fear they may not provide adequate protection because they rely on the discre- tion of judges. The attorneys-general will reconsider federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock's proposals at a meeting of their standing committee at Hobart in July. Ruddock is under pressure to meet a promise he made in 2005 that he would introduce shield laws after Melbourne Herald Sun senior journalists, Michael Harvey and Gerard McManus refused to reveal the source of their report that former veteran affairs minister Danna Vale ignored a recommendation to increase the benefits of war veterans by $650 million. Instead, she presented a plan to cabinet to spend only $150 million. The two journalists are awaiting sentenc- ing after pleading guilty to contempt of court. The need for greater whistleblower pro- tection has been highlighted by the plight of former commonwealth public servant Alan Kessing. Kessing is facing up to two years in pris- on after being found guilty of making public a classified report that formed the basis of a series of reports in The Australian, which led to a $212 million upgrade of national airport security. In an editorial that argued that Ruddock's proposed new shield law are inadequate, The Australian said it unapologetically sup- ported a system that encouraged those who uncovered malfeasance within government to blow the whistle. "The censorious culture that hunts down and punishes those who leak the truth is anti-free speech and to be abhorred," it said. "Not only do we want a system that defends the rights of those who blow the whistle, we advocate a system that encour- ages them to do so." While the shield laws proposed by the Commonwealth would protect journal- ists from having to reveal their sources by requiring judges to weight the competing interests of maintaining confidentiality against the need for a source to be identi- fied, the national agreement reflected only a proportion of the protections afforded by NSW legislation. This also protected public servants when they spoke up. "Without such protection, the new national arrangements, already weakened by the scope given to judicial interpreta- tion, do not go nearly far enough," said The Australian. WRH Marketing and INMA join forces Innovation and new advertising sales formats are central to a new partnership be- tween the International Newspaper Marketing Association and WRH Marketing. Under the two-year agreement INMA hopes to tap into WRH Marketing's methods of turning customer ideas into revenue solutions while WRH Marketing aims to reach the world's leading newspaper marketing and sales executives to "deepen the mutual benefits through innovations". WRH Marketing, a Switzerland-based global marketing, sales, trade and service organisation, has created several products designed to generate advertising sales for newspapers including MemoStick, MemoFlag and Spot-On. According to the company, MemoStick has already evolved into lucrative ad- vertising models such as vouchers, special offers and direct marketing activities of newspaper advertisers while MemoStick and MemoFlag are concepts recommended by WRH Marketing newspaper clients who were searching for unique ideas in their advertising portfolio. WRH Marketing CEO Guido Steffen says newspapers around the world have been able to turn these front-page promotional materials into advertising sales vehicles sold at a premium. "In Italy and Australia, for example, MemoStick could create response rates of up to 16 per cent," he said. Meanwhile INMA executive director Earl Wilkinson says that the MemoStick and MemoFlag products represent new business for newspapers, drawing from both advertising and direct marketing budgets. 'But what makes these products stand out is that they were end-products of WRH Marketing's listening to their newspaper customers and coming up with solutions," he said. "It's that kind of constant innovation that WRH Marketing stands for, and INMA is proud to be associated with them." CPU drops Fellowship By Warren Page The Harry Brittain Fellowship, which has ben- efited so many New Zealand, Australian and other Commonwealth young editors and senior journalists since 1960, is dead. Named after the founder of the Commonwealth Press Union, the annual Fellowship has provided up to 10 promising journalists from Commonwealth countries with the opportunity to spend six weeks in the United Kingdom learning about the British media. Despite often describing the Harry Brittain Fellowship as its most prestigious training activ- ity, the CPU suspended the Fellowship last year at the start of a review of its work and future direc- tions by international management consultancy DeLoitte's. Immediately after the suspension, the British High Commission in Wellington provided one-off funding for a one-month fellowship in the UK which included study at the Cardiff University's School of Journalism and a newspa- per attachment. Since then negotiations have begun with a po- tential sponsor for continuing financial support and associated naming rights.