Herein the problem. On a recent ABC show, Claire Harvey, Deputy Editor, “Sunday Telegraph” Newscorp said this:
The question here is, I think, that journalists deserve, in their capacity as protectors of the whistle-blowers and the representatives of the people, the ability to be able to talk to sources confidentially to protect their identities.
There has been much said and written about the AFP raids, but to deconstruct, these seem to be the issues in TAFKAS’ mind:
- Journalists are not a special class of people. They do not have or deserve special privileges. They do not represent the people. There is no such thing as journalist-source privilege. There is no such thing as Press Freedom, there is just plain, good old Freedom. Freedom does not come in journalist and non-journalist flavours.
- The national security laws of Australia apply equally to everyone. From Joe Schmo on the street to April Sunshine in the ABC newsroom. There is no special rule for journalists and for non-journalists (however journalists be defined).
Yes. It may seem a shock to the inner city types to learn that they are not special and don’t get special rights. It may seem a shock to learn that the rule of law means that everyone is equal before the law.
There will be many more reviews and discussions on this subject, but there should not ever be any special regulatory carve outs for journalists or people who work for so called media organisations. So called and self described “journalists” are citizens like the rest of us and unless they stand for elected office, they are certainly not representatives of the people.