Off the Record Shield Laws for Journalists' Confidential Sources

Off the Record
Shield Laws for Journalists' Confidential Sources


© Commonwealth of Australia 1994

ISBN 0 642 22120 0

N.B. All files are in PDF format. To view or print the report, you will require the Acrobat PDF reader®, which can be downloaded free of charge from Adobe.

View the report as a single document - (PDF format) - 20 082 KB

View the report as separate downloadable parts:


Chapter 1: The Reference - (PDF format)
Terms of reference
Priority for shield Laws
Conduct of the First Stage of the Inquiry

Chapter 2: the Issue - (PDF format)
Why is this Committee examining sheild laws?
Journalistic ethics and the administration of justice
Do journalists fabricate sources?
Who isa journalist?
Various definitions
In what circumstances do courts order disclosure?

Chapter 3: Journalist v The Court - (PDF format)
The Cases
The Barras Case
The Budd Case
The Hellaby Case
The Nichols Case
The Cornwall Case
The Legal Principles
The Newspaper Rule
Pre-trial Discovery
Investigatory Bodies
Recommendation 1

Chapter 4: The Fourth Estate - (PDF format)
The Argument
The Constitutional Basis
The Role of the Media
Investigative Journalism
Investigative Journalism and Confidential Sources

Chapter 5: Confidential Relationships Compared - (PDF format)
What is the nature of the relationship between journalist and source?
Legal Professional Privilege
Priest and Penitent
Doctor and Patient
Other Professional Relationships
Police Informers
A Privelege for Journalists Distinguished
Do journalists have a special claim?

Chapter 6: Balancing Competing Public Interests - (PDF format)
What is public interest?
Which public interest?
Who determines the balance?
Significance of information

Chapter 7: The Options - (PDF format)
Other Jurisdictions
The Options for Australia
The do nothing option
Absolute Privilege
Privelige qualified by structured discretion
Veracity of Information
Dangers of lists
Recommendation 2A
Recommendation 2B
In Camera Proceedings

Chapter 8: Contemt - (PDF format)
Disobedience Contempt
A Separate Court
Recommendation 3
Proportinal Penalites
Other Possible Sanctions
Recommendation 4

Chapter 9: Improving Accountability - (PDF format)
Journalism and the Professions
Unethical Behaviour
Self-regulation: Accountability through complaints mechanisms
Recommendation 5
Recommendation 6
Recommendation 7
Proposals for Regulation of the media
What happens in other jurisdictions?
What conclusions can be drawn from other jurisdictions
Recommendation 8


Appendix 1: Written Submissions released for Publication - (PDF format)

Appendix2: Witnesses who appeared at Public Hearings - (PDF format)