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Oz bloggers get shield protection

Indies, Greens extend whistleblower law

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The Australian Senate has passed legislation that would afford the same protection to bloggers, independent media and “citizen journalists” as is enjoyed by journalists.

An amendment to the “shield laws” debated in the Senate yesterday won’t keep people out of court, according to Greens’ Senator Scott Ludlam, but will allow courts to decide whether disclosure of a source is in the public interest.

Australian courts have historically taken a hard line on disclosing sources, leaving journalists who decline to reveal a source liable to a charge of contempt of court.

The legislation, originally designed to protect only journalists and whistleblowers, received its wider definition courtesy of independent Sentator Nick Xenophon. The legislation will now pass back to Australia’s lower house, which has to accept the amendments before they become law. ®

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