Chalk up another win to Petro? A fortnight
ago he told the House of Representatives that laws need to be changed to protect
“Michael Harvey and Gerard McManus face possible imprisonment for refusing to
reveal the source of a story of significant public interest, a story which
posed no risk to national security, that is an appalling prospect in a
democratic nation,” he said.

Philip Ruddock’s people would like us to be
excited at the media release the Attorney slipped out on Friday heralding their
intervention in the case, saying moves are under way to offer limited protection
to reporters.

Well, whoopee-do, Philip. Who let the dogs

We’d agree with the comments of Media
Entertainment and Arts Alliance secretary Chris Warren that the intervention holds out some hope to Harvey and McManus “that they
won’t face jail as a result of the ethical principal they’re upholding” and
that the Commonwealth “intends to pick up the recommendations of the Australian
Law Reform Commission and amend the Evidence Act to provide journalists in the
future with some protection for their professional privileges.”

But that doesn’t change the fact – this
action seems designed to cover the ars* of a notoriously dud minister.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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