Gina Rinehart: Withdraw your subpoenas against Adele Ferguson and Steve Pennells #pressfreedom
Ms Rinehart you are a figure of great public interest. You have significant shareholdings in major media, both with Fairfax and at Network Ten.
It is critical to the credibility of independent journalism that you support the industry in which you invest, by honouring the MEAA Code of Ethics that applies to journalists to not reveal their sources or what their sources tell them that is not published.
This directly applies to Adele Ferguson with your recent subpoaena and also to Steve Pennells who you have been pursuing for over a year. Debi Marshall has been writing about your family for nearly a decade.
You are someone who seeks influence and/or profit from news media in Australia. It is a sad and shameful attack on journalistic ethics and journalism that you would target senior journalists, particularly when you are a significant shareholder in two news organisations.
It will be up to the Courts to determine if your subpoena on Adele Ferguson will be successful, once her lawyers deal with your request. Steve Pennells's lawyers have kept you at bay to date, but how long will you keep fighting? Is your attack on Debi Marshall just bluster?
In the mean time, you can show integrity. You can acknowledge your role as a key media figure.
Before Ms Ferguson incurs legal costs and stress and before Steve Pennells goes through more pain you can withdraw your requests of the courts, where you are seeking discovery of journos' files.
It is especially concerning that you of all people are opening this door and dispatching the tenet of source protection. Well beyond your family dispute, journalism and news gathering will be weaker because of this legal intervention.
Strong journalism, the fourth estate, is an important pillar of democracy and should not be jeopardised over a nasty, protracted family spat because the players happen to be well resourced.
As a seemingly want-to-be media baron, your actions appear short sighted, devaluing journalism and journalists. You actions very well may kick your shareprice and the industry shareprice in the future if weak journalism is the norm..
Please instruct your solicitors to ask the court to withdraw any subpoenas issued against any journalist at your request or the request of an entity you control.
**Update 13 March 2013 I was sent press clippings and legal information about Steve Pennells who has been in the same situation as Adele Ferguson, but for over 12 months, fighting the same issue so for petitions signed after 361, also now include Steve's issue.
**Update 18 April 2013** A lesser reported figure, journalist and writer Debi Marshall Lang Hancock biographer Debi Marshall has been subpoenaed by Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting and so she has been included in the petition
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Gina Rinehart: Withdraw your subpoena for Adele Ferguson, Steve Pennells, Debi Marshall or any other journalist to break either of their obligations to protect their sources as a journalist and also to not disclose what their source tells them that does not make it to publication.
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