They wrote investigative series on Gina Rinehart; and now they could face jail sentences.
Australia’s richest person and mining magnate Gina Rinehart is demanding two journalists reveal all sources and unpublished notes from the articles — if they refuse, they could be found in contempt of court. There’s no suggestion of facts being incorrect or misreporting, Rinehart wants the information to use in a legal battle over a trust fund against her children.
As a journalist, I know how quality journalism relies on sources being protected. Without that, our democracy — and our right to share information about influential public figures like Rinehart or expose cover ups and abuses of power — would be weakened.
Will you join me in fighting Gina Rinehart’s attempt to intimidate journalists into revealing their sources? Sign the petition I started on Change.org asking Rinehart to drop the subpoenas against Adele Ferguson and Steve Pennells.
Rinehart has an army of lawyers that show no sign dropping the pursuit of Adele Ferguson and Steve Pennells. But with Rinehart eager to take up board positions on Fairfax Media, a huge public outcry about her unfairly pursuing journalists like this could put those at risk — and force her to reconsider the legal action.
“At stake here is not just imprisonment, or the impact on my family. It is the freedom to offer confidentiality to sources. It is the freedom to report.” — Adele says that Rinehart’s action against them is already stopping sources speaking out. And worryingly, journalists are becoming scared about what Rinehart will do if they too publish an article about her.
Every day, these courageous journalists are closer to facing jail time, and their legal fees bank up further, simply because they’re standing by their professional code of ethics.
Thank you for your support.