Gina Rinehart: Withdraw your subpoenas against Adele Ferguson and Steve Pennells #pressfreedom
  • Petitioned Mark Bickerton

This petition was delivered to:

External Communications
Mark Bickerton
Hancock Prospecting
Gina Rinehart

Gina Rinehart: Withdraw your subpoenas against Adele Ferguson and Steve Pennells #pressfreedom

    1. Miles Heffernan
    2. Petition by

      Miles Heffernan

      Brisbane, Australia

  1.  
  2.   
March 2014

Victory

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

Follow Adele Ferguson on Twitter (Cracker Journo) Hashtag: #standupforadele

Also Follow Steve Pennells on Twitter (Also a Cracker Journo) on Twitter 

Talk to me on Twitter @mileshef --

Join the MEAA's 30 Days of Press Freedom on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/30-Days-of-Press-Freedom/305986382863414 

To:
Mark Bickerton, External Communications
Gina Rinehart, Hancock Prospecting
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.

Sincerely,
[Your name]

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Reached 35,000 signatures
    2. Adele and Steve Sadly Remain Having to fight Rinehart on Two Fronts

      Miles Heffernan
      Petition Organizer

      From the AFR: Lawyers for prominent journalists Steve Pennells and Adele Ferguson have lost a bid to have their cases heard together as they fight off subpoenas from mining magnate Gina Rinehart.

      The AFR reports "My client has no desire to muzzle the press," Gina Rinehart's lawyer tells WA court"

      Journalists lose bid to battle Rinehart together

      Lawyers for prominent journalists Steve Pennells and Adele Ferguson have lost a bid to have their cases heard together as they fight off subpoenas from mining magnate Gina Rinehart.

    3. Vic Court of Appeal Orders to Protect Sources... But will it help here?

      Miles Heffernan
      Petition Organizer

      Appeal Court Justice David Harper said investigative journalists "served an important public interest" in uncovering the truth and that the use of anonymous sources was "appropriate in some but not all circumstances." ordering that Fairfax journalists Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker did not have to reveal their sources.

      Age journos win appeal against revealing sources

      TWO investigative journalists have successfully appealed a court order that may have compelled them to reveal confidential sources in a criminal trial. The Victorian Court of Appeal has upheld an appeal by Fairfax journalists Nick McKenzie and Richard Baker against subpoenas issued by a Melbourne magistrate that would have forced them to give evidence in a bribery case against former executives of a Reserve Bank of Australia subsidiary company.

    4. Rinehart on 2013 Time 100 Most Influential

      Miles Heffernan
      Petition Organizer

      Just to know what we're up against. "Beauty is an iron mine"

      The 2013 TIME 100

      Illustration by David Despau for TIME "Beauty," says Australia's richest person, Gina Rinehart, "is an iron mine." In 1992, Rinehart inherited a fortune from her iron-magnate father Lang Hancock and has multiplied it hundreds of times over by acquiring large swaths of mineral-rich red land in Western Australia and spinning iron into gold.

    5. Journalist and Rinehart/Hancock Biographer Debi Marshall Joins Petition

      Miles Heffernan
      Petition Organizer

      A lesser reported figure, journalist and writer Debi Marshall. a Lang Hancock and Rinehart family biographer, has been subpoenaed by Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting and so she has been included in the petition

      Rinehart subpoenas biographer Debi Marshall

      JOURNALIST and author Debi Marshall is the latest wordsmith to be served a subpoena by the lawyers of billionaire Gina Rinehart. Ms Rinehart allegedly wants a copy of all recordings and notes of interviews made on or after September 5, 2011, between Ms Marshall and John Hancock and Bianca Rinehart - her estranged children.

    6. Reached 30,000 signatures
    7. Pennells and Ferguson's Cases May Be Joined

      Miles Heffernan
      Petition Organizer

      Rather than fighting two media organisations separately, perhaps to divide and conquer, lawyers for Mr Pennells and Ms Ferguson have asked for them to be heard together.

      The judge has expressed reticence about further delays and will make his decision on Friday.

      Judge to rule on joint hearing of Rinehart actions against two journalists

      The ''shield law'' testing legal battles of Fairfax Media journalist Adele Ferguson and The West Australian newspaper's Steve Pennells may be heard together as both refuse to expose their sources to Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting.

    8. Reached 25,000 signatures
    9. Gina Subpoena Rising Eye Brows Here and in UK

      Miles Heffernan
      Petition Organizer

      Sally Jackson from The Australian Newspaper's Media Round reported on the legal intervention of Gina Rinehart's Hancock Prospecting on the petition.

      Plus international journalists have got involved signing the petition and spreading the word

      Sue me, Change.org petitioner tells Gina Rinehart

      THE man behind an online petition calling on Gina Rinehart to drop her legal action against two reporters says the billionaire mining magnate should "take legal action against me or shut up" after being warned by her lawyers.

    10. Reached 20,000 signatures
    11. Open Letter from Mark Wilks from Corrs

      Miles Heffernan
      Petition Organizer

      After I suggested that Mr Wilks from Corrs was attempting to play down his firm's involvement, he provided a branded letter to me at 11:49am on 9 April 2013. The text appears unaltered.

      http://www.hancockprospecting.com.au/files/Open%20Letter%20-%20Dear%20Mr%20Heffernan4.pdf

      In the last paragraph Mr Wilks says "We reiterate our request that you publish our email to Fairfax on your website". The first and only request from Corrs was on the same day, so it is not the case that he could or did "reiterate" a request. Hancock Prospecting did make a request, but Corrs only wrote one letter demanding changes that day by 4pm.

    12. Reached 12,500 signatures
    13. Powerful Lawyer Mark Wilks From Corrs Chambers Westgarth Pens Open Letter

      Miles Heffernan
      Petition Organizer

      Corrs Partner Mark Wilks, high profile and respected commercial litigation and ADR lawyer has given a deadline for me to publish his letter and one other. Here is the open letter, which as it is in the public domain, you can read it here http://www.hancockprospecting.com.au/files/Open%20Letter%20-%20Dear%20Mr%20Heffernan.pdf

      Strangely absent is the Corrs' letterhead or branding. This prestigious and powerful firm are also fierce defenders of a certain church in the face of allegations of institutional child abuse and subsequent cover up, so why wouldn't these first class hired guns put their brand to the letter?

      Mr Wilks also seems confused about shield laws which don't adequately protect a journo once the source is known and the MEAA code of ethics which protects the source's information even when that source is known.

    14. Reached 8,000 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • rose tyrrell MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
      • 4 months ago

      Because GINA YOU LIVE LIKE AN EVIL QUEEN THAT SEES YOU CRUSH ,KILL , DESTROY EVERYTHING YOU TOUCH !!! WE ARE ALL SICK OF IT !!! TAKE A LOOK AT YOURSELF ... HORRIBLE ISNT IT . TIME YOU SPARE A THOUGHT FOR OTHERS THAT INHABIT THIS WORLD , YOU MUST KNOW THE OLD SAYING "YOU CANT EAT MONEY" WELL ITS VERY TRUE ,ALTHOUGH , LOOKING AT YOU NOTHING WOULD SURPRISE ME . TIME YOU KEPT YOUR FAT GREEDY FINGERS OFF EVERYONE ELSE AND ALL THE STUFF THAT WAS MEANT TO BE SHARED WITH THE REST OFF US IN THIS COUNTRY . HELLOOO .. WE LIVE HERE TO, !!

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Julie McCarthy PERTH, AUSTRALIA
      • 5 months ago

      Keep journalism strong and independent. Gina, you are not a person of public interest, but rather, public derision as possibly the biggest sore loser in history.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Andrew Olkemb COORANBONG, AUSTRALIA
      • 6 months ago

      It is important for the democracy of freedom of speech.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Rod Stevens ASHMORE, AUSTRALIA
      • 6 months ago

      Is this the same Gina Rinehart, obese useless eater that inherited daddy's business digging up stolen Aboriginal land (iron ore) and sending it to China so they can build WW3 war ships that will eventaully come here and own our butts? I think so. The same thing that wants 10,000+ foreigners working on min wage in Australia. Evict that thing from Australia.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • miles robertson AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
      • 6 months ago

      i like it the way it is/i care about freedom of the press and democracy

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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