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Law and the Media, 4th Edition by Estelle Overs, Tom Cassels, Tom Crone

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11 Protection of Journalistic Sources

Joanna Ludlam

11.1 Introduction

Of all the valuable commodities cherished by the media, particularly those working as journalists, a long contact list of reliable sources is one of the most important. The system by which sources of information and contacts are built up is based on mutual trust and cooperation. In circumstances where a person provides accurate information on the understanding that he will not be compromised or named, it is a cardinal rule of journalism that his identity remains confidential.

However, people who speak to reporters on this basis frequently break a duty of confidence that they themselves owe to a third party. As a result, the journalistic principle of protecting sources can sometimes ...

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