Publications and submissions

Policy papers

A series of papers to provide background and recommendations for reform.

close up of a boom microphoneDefine Journalism; Not Journalists 

Reform Briefing 3/2021 | Peter Greste

Journalism plays a crucial role in Australia’s democracy, and given the extent of change that the industry has gone through in the digital revolution, it's essential that legislation be updated to include a more appropriate definition.

Wall of closed glass windows, one openClosed Justice and Press Freedom

Background Briefing 2/2021 | Lucy Noble-Dickinson & Rebecca Ananian-Welsh

Journalists play an important role in facilitating open justice and pushing back against claims of secrecy. Justifications for closed courts and secrecy include to protect persons, information or national security.

side profile of face against cameraWho is a Journalist?

Background Briefing 1/2021 | Dominic Frost

Legal definitions of journalist operate in every Australian State and Territory and under federal law.  Is it possible to define a journalist in law?  Should a uniform definition be adopted?

rusty shieldReforming Australian Shield Laws

Reform Briefing 2/2021 | Anna Kretowicz

An overview of the current state of Australian shield laws, with reform recommendations to better protect source confidentiality and press freedom, without unduly compromising the public interest in law enforcement.

whistle hanging from a yellow lanyardWhistleblowing to the Media

Reform Briefing 2/2020 | Rebecca Ananian-Welsh

This Policy Paper summarises and critiques the avenues by which a public sector worker may make a protected disclosure of information to the media.

Police Do not cross tapeEspionage and Press Freedom in Australia

Reform Briefing 1/2020 | Sarah Kendall 

An overview of Australia’s espionage laws, explaining their impact on media and identifying law reform options to protect national security without unduly undermining press freedom.

Police Do not cross tapeThe 2019 AFP Raids on Australian Journalists

Background Briefing 1/2020 | Rebecca Ananian-Welsh 

The AFP raids have become a focal point for debate concerning the recognition, protection and health of press freedom in Australia. In this Policy Paper, we provide a background to those raids and consider their legal and political consequences.


R. Ananian-Welsh, ‘Journalistic Confidentiality in an Age of Data Surveillance’ (2019) 41(2) Australian Journalism Review 225-239.

R. Ananian-Welsh, ‘Smethurst v Commissioner of Police and the unlawful seizure of journalists’ private information’ (2020) 24 Media and Arts Law Review 60-71.

R. Ananian-Welsh and J. Orange, ‘The Confidentiality of Journalists’ Sources in Police Investigations: Privacy, Privilege and the Freedom of Political Communication’ (2020) 94 Australian Law Journal 777-790.

R. Ananian-Welsh, S. Kendall and R. Murray, ‘Risk and Uncertainty in Public Interest Journalism: The Impact of Espionage Law on Press Freedom’ (2021) 44 Melbourne University Law Review (forthcoming)

R. Ananian-Welsh, R. Cronin and P. Greste, ‘In the Public Interest: Protections and Risks in Whistleblowing to the Media’ University of New South Wales Law Journal (forthcoming)


Submission on Press Freedom to Senate Standing Committees on Environment and Communications (PDF, 268.5 KB)
Coordinating author: Rebecca Ananian-Welsh
Submitted on 30 August 2019

Submission to Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press. (PDF, 426.9 KB)
Coordinating author: Rebecca Ananian-Welsh
Submitted on 26 July 2019 to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security's Inquiry (the PJCIS Inquiry).