The reporter's right not to tell supports the public's right to know

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When freedoms are at stake, the media can justify not revealing their sources. On February 20, 2004, two journalists on Melbourne's Herald Sun newspaper, Michael Harvey and Gerard McManus, published a story of a leaked Government report that proposed rejecting arecommended $500 million increase in pension entitlements to war veterans. Now Harvey and McManus face jail for refusing to disclose their confidential sources. Their defence lies squarely on the claim that maintaining confidentiality for unnamed sources servesthe public interest. The problem with the disclosure or non-disclosure of confidential sources is that it seems to involve a troubling paradox. It presents two equally valid but unacceptable propositions: disclose and act unethically, or not disclose and break the law. Something's got to give but it is not clear exactly what. The paradox of confidential sources is based on an old-as-the-hills conflict between ethics and the law.
Original languageEnglish
Type687-word newspaper opinion piece, pub 13 Sep 2005, available on an ongoing basis from
PublisherSydney Morning Herald
Place of PublicationSydney, NSW, Australia
EditionSeptember 13th, 2005
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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