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Panpa Bulletin : November 2010
www.panpa.org.au WINNING PRINT AWARD Winners of the 2008, 2009 and 2010 PANPA Awards for Technical Excellence in both single and double-width print categories (0-25k circ). Proud printers of the PANPA Bulletin. Join the winning team for best impressions...always. P. 1300 276 778 • E. email@example.com • W. apnprint.com.au The PANPA Bulletin | NOVEMBER 2010 | 3 The shield of trust NEW laws to protect journalist sources have been proposed amid renewed political support for a free press. The move to introduce so-called shield laws comes as other legislation to stop the prosecution and persecu- tion of whistleblowers is also being considered at a federal level and intro- duced in some states. The ability of journalists to keep sources confidential, and to allow in- dividuals to speak freely about wrong- doing in government, are seen as the cornerstones of a free press. Private Members Bills for shield laws have been introduced into the Australian Parliament by independ- ent MP Andrew Wilkie and Senator George Brandis, the shadow attorney- general. Both Bills reflect the New Zealand leg- islation that was passed four years ago. New Zealand has just been ranked as 8th in a Reporters Without Borders index of countries with the most lib- eral press freedoms, beating Australia (18th). Changes to whistleblower laws have recently been promised by the NSW Government, and a new model for protection is being considered by federal politicians and state leaders in Victoria and Western Australia. Two top political journalists -- Michael Harvey and Gerard Mc- Manus -- received criminal convic- tions and fines for refusing to reveal their sources in court three years ago. The head of the Australian Press Council, Julian Disney, welcomed the shield laws moves, saying it would "give journalists a greater degree of confidence". "It is potentially an important de- velopment," he said. "This legislation will apply to all types of proceedings in federal and state courts that relate to Commonwealth offences." Mr Disney said states had to follow the federal parliament on shield laws or journalists would be "unprotected on state matters, which is a problem". The same applies for the whistle- blower laws. Today, a public servant faces prosecution for making public any wrongdoing or excess in government. The threat of prosecution stops indi- viduals stepping forward without great personal and professional risk. "Quite often, one cannot be sure what the whistleblower will be charged with," Mr Disney said. "This new model which assumes at the outset that a journalist's confidential source should remain confidential was a significant win for freedom speech," said John Hartigan, chairman of News Ltd, on behalf of Australia's Right To Know coalition of media companies. "Without this, there is risk of information about corruption and maladministration not coming to the attention of the public through the media," he said. On shield laws, MP Andrew Wilkie told Parliament his Bill "is based on the premise that every member of the community has the fundamental right to free speech". "Sometimes the exercise of that right needs to be undertaken anony- mously, especially when it comes to people speaking out about official misconduct," he said. Mr Wilkie referred specifically to the convictions of Mr Harvey and Mr McManus. Their story "highlights the need for legislative reform to provide bet- ter protection for whistleblowers and the journalists who publicise their concerns". Mr Harvey welcomed the initiative, saying: "This is important in a demo- cratic society. "It's a much healthier recognition of how journalists work, and how whistleblowers work, and how an im- portant part of our democratic system works in reality." Nick Evershed NPA SEX sells -- and Singapore publishers don't need any con- vincing of that. This cheeky, flesh-fest of advertising to promote the top titles at Singapore Press Holdings (SPH) has been turning heads. Catch-lines such as "Size Does Matter" are especially risqué for a conservative society. The campaign ran island wide, print, online and out- of-home, for upmarket titles Her World, Female, Men's Health, ICON and The Peak. SPH is clearly growing in strength as the Singaporean economy recovers. CEO Alan Chan recently restored full-wage status to senior staff after they had taken cuts of between 2 and 5 percent to help the company traverse the economic downturn without large-scale redundancies. SPH has just reported an 18-point hike in profits, strongly supported by an increase in advertising rev- enues. Its operating revenue is up by 6 percent to a record S$1.38 billion. Net profit after tax was a shade under S$500 million. Newspaper and magazine revenue alone climbed 9.2 percent to S$974.1 million. Glossies reveal all as cash rolls in The government agency is investigating South Canterbury Finance, which was the subject of an NBR exposé in which money was allegedly hidden by one executive by passing an invest- ment in a luxury NZ hotel to a relative. Publisher Barry Colman initially refused but then handed over documents after receiving his own legal advice. He said all information in the document was already in the public domain and no con- fidential sources had been revealed. Nevil Gibson, editor-in-chief of the NBR, told The Bulletin he feared the Fraud Office would engage in a "fishing expedition" and demand further material. "If they ask for any further information that we've received in confidence from whistle- blowers, we're not going to give it to them." The NBR sought an undertaking from the Fraud Office that it would not take further action. Head of the Fraud Office, Adam Feeley, said the Fraud Office would not be giving out any undertaking, and described the whole situa- tion as "a storm in a teacup". "If they didn't hand over the information, we probably would have ignored the matter," he said. When asked about the letter sent to the NBR outlining penalties for non-compliance, he said they were not "threats", but that "it was very common with statutory notices to see the consequences of non-compliance". Mr Gibson said the NZ media had little abil- ity to protect the confidentiality of sources against the Fraud Office, despite amendments to the Evidence Act (2006) similar to the ones just introduced in Australia. "They've got these draconian powers to stop crooks from destroying evidence,"he said. "The SFO has powers that go way beyond the Bill of Rights. "The SFO's powers are too great, and in 2006 the New Zealand law commission rec- ommended, among other things, to merge the SFO with the police so they had the same set of rules of search, and so on." "That didn't happen, and the SFO has been allowed to continue and has had a change of management. That has led to the new head using these powers against the media." Mr Gibson said the paper would campaign for the government to amend the law. Its recent editorial said: "The SFO's pow- ers represent a ticking timebomb that could provide the government of the day with an insolvable crisis. "The government needs to amend the law urgently. It can defuse the bomb by instruct- ing the SFO director not to attempt any further seizure of editorial material." CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 Freedom threat Saucy Singapore images designed to cut through the noise of trade promotions