JERAA urges the ABC to not hand over footage, protect sources
October 9, 2023
The Journalism Education and Research Association of Australia (JERAA) is deeply concerned at reports that Western Australian police are demanding the ABC hand over footage filmed as part of a Four Corners investigation. As researchers and teachers of journalism, we uphold the ethical obligation of journalists to honour any assurances given to protect sources. This obligation is imperative in supporting the western democratic tradition of journalism and to investigative journalism in particular.
The ABC case relates to an investigation due to be broadcast on Four Corners tonight: “Escalation: Climate, protest and the fight for the future”. WA police are reported to have demanded footage via “Order to Produce” provisions of the WA Criminal Investigations Act. The law compels organisations to comply.
One of JERAA’s core aims is to promote freedom of expression and communication. The association is concerned that the WA police action represents a direct threat to media freedom and the practice of ethical investigative journalism. We join the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) in urging the ABC to stand firm and not hand over footage which could potentially undermine assurances by the Four Corners team to their sources.