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Existing shield laws do little to protect Australians, or our democracy

Journalists Journalism Media regulation Freedom of information Freedom of the press Australia New Zealand

To mitigate uncertainty and ensure consistent protection for journalists, Australia needs an all-encompassing, national shield law like New Zealand has.

Australia’s inferiority to leading democracies in ensuring press freedom and free flow of information is nothing new. But we can add failing to acknowledge the evolution of journalism to that list.

Shield laws are supposed to provide privilege for journalists, protecting them from forced disclosure of confidential sources and information. They attempt to mediate the conflict between a journalist wanting to protect their sources and a court needing the relevant evidence before it.

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