Aussie journalists face jail after refusing to name source

Dominic Ponsford
 
Just months after the jailing of US journalist
Judith Miller for refusing to name a source two senior Australian
reporters face the prospect of prison under similar circumstances.
 
Gerard McManus and Michael Harvey are both senior
political reporters working on the Rupert Murdoch-owned Herald Sun and
were called as witnesses in the pre-trial hearing of senior civil
servant Desmond Patrick Kelly who has been accused of leaking
information to the press.
 
They refused to reveal their source and are now expected to be formally charged with contempt of court.
They were told by a judge that they had no right in law not to answer questions about the identity of their source.
 
Harvey argued that he was upholding an important principle of journalistic conduct.
 
Kelly is facing a possible charge of unauthorised disclosure of information which carries a maximum two-year jail term.
The alleged leak detailed a government plan not to deliver $500 million in extra pensions to veterans and widows.
The plan was later dropped after it was publicly criticised.
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