An important day for investigative journalism in Victoria
On 9 December 2015 Justice John Dixon handed down his decision in Madafferi v The Age. This is the first decision in Victoria concerning the application of the “journalist’s privilege” under section 126K of the Evidence Act 2008.
The plaintiff sued The Age for defamation over a series of articles concerning allegations of serious criminal misconduct within the Calabrian community in Australia. He sought orders that The Age and a number of its leading investigative journalists reveal their confidential sources.
In dismissing the application it was held the plaintiff had not satisfied the court there was a public interest in disclosure that outweighed any likely adverse effect of disclosure or the public interest in a free and informed press.
The editor of The Age, Andrew Holden, has hailed it as “a great judgment for journalism, and the most difficult investigative work that we undertake…”
Haroon Hassan (led by Dr Matt Collins QC) acted for Fairfax and its journalists.