The Journalist's Guide to Media Law: Dealing with legal and ethical issues
So much has changed in the regulation of media law and ethics since the second edition of this book was published in 2004 that it has necessitated a thorough overhaul, including a new chapter on anti-terrorism and race hate laws. Despite an increase of 30 000 words, we have managed to keep it to thirteen chapters by consolidating some of the material in Part 2—Reporting crime and justice. The field of media law and ethics seems to have become increasingly volatile. Important developments in the 2004–2007 period warranting coverage have included: • The historic introduction of near-uniform defamation laws throughout all states and territories in 2006, featuring new offer of amends procedures and defences. • A landmark High Court freedom of information decision in 2006 (McKinnon v. Secretary, Department of Treasury), sending a chilling message to journalists trying to access government documents. • The introduction of a raft of anti-terrorism laws with worrying ramifi-cations for reporters covering national security issues. • Major changes to intellectual property laws prompted mainly by new technologies and Australia’s signing of a free trade agreement with the United States. • The move towards bills of rights in the states and territories, led by the ACT. • High Court pronouncements on important media issues like the implied constitutional guarantee of freedom of communication on matters of politics and government. • Numerous instructive decisions in the areas of contempt of court, suppres-sion orders, naming of state wards and child witnesses, access to documents and defamation. • Influential reports and inquiries from the Australian Law Reform Commission with implications for the confidentiality of journalists’ sources, privacy and sedition laws. • International developments in privacy law, with the prospect of a statu-tory right to privacy being enacted in Australia. • The introduction of a new regulator—the Australian Communications and Media Authority—to replace the former Australian Broadcasting Authority.
Law not elsewhere classified