November 12, 2007
Journalists’ union rejects call to make TV3 reveal sources
The union that represents journalists says calls for TV3 to be forced to reveal its sources for information it holds on the so-called terrorism arrests are an ironic attack on one of the defining features of democracy – a free and independent media.
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union is responding to comments on Radio NZ this morning by Peter Williams QC, who said TV3 should be subpoenaed and forced to take the stand to reveal its sources.
EPMU national secretary Andrew Little says Williams’ comments are reckless.
“Journalists need to able to report on issues of public importance without fear of persecution or prosecution, irrespective of their sources. Protecting those sources is a long-standing and legitimate right of free and independent media.
“Whether TV3 is right to air or to threaten to air the information is not the issue. The point is that hauling journalists into a courtroom or putting pressure on them to reveal their sources has a chilling effect on journalism and is harmful to our democracy.
“The concerns about democracy thrown up by the original raids and arrests are not addressed by attacking one of the most important conventions we have to protect our media from undue pressure, namely the right of journalists to protect their sources.”
The EPMU represents around 1000 journalists nationwide, across both print and broadcast media.