What do journalists think of our Freedom of Information laws?

25 August 2009

Written by: Lawrie Zion

If you’re a journalist who has views about our Freedom of Information laws, then I’m keen to get in touch.

I’m a PhD candidate and tutor in the Media and Cinema Studies program at La Trobe University Bundoora, where I’m researching Freedom of Information law and its impact on journalism in Australia for my thesis: Information Detention Centre: How Freedom of Information Policy Affects Australian Journalists.

This research will investigate the policy issues and complexities associated with Freedom of Information laws by exploring the costs and procedures applied to journalists and media organizations. The fundamental question I’d like to answer  is why has it become harder for journalists to obtain access to government information since the Commonwealth FOI Act was passed in 1982?

My interest in this topic comes through an earlier study of the arguments for shield laws – associated with the need for confidential sources, as a result of journalists’ inability to gain information through legitimate FOI channels.

My research will also explore industry attitudes to the Rudd Government’s proposed reforms to the FOI Act.

So are you a journalist with an opinion on FOI? Can you spare a few minutes of your time to complete a questionnaire discussing your experiences of Australia’s FOI laws and your views on the proposed changes currently going through parliament? Would you like to contribute to this research on an important aspect of Australia’s media law?

If you are, then I’d be grateful if you could get in touch with me.

My contact details are:

Ph: [LTU]: (03) 94792442, [H]: (03) 9801 5191, [M]: 0403 54 84 94

Email: perrin_brown@hotmail.com, pa9brown@students.latrobe.edu.au