Peter Dunne wants Fairfax to say he wasn’t the source of the leak about the GCSB but it won’t.
If a media outlet says one person didn’t do something it could turn in to a guessing game.
It will be asked if someone else did it. If it said yes other names will be proffered and if the outlet refuses to say s/he didn’t it will imply that s/he did.
Labour leader David Shearer wants Fairfax to release the emails between its journalist Andrea Vance and Dunne but it is refusing to do that too.
Fairfax Group executive editor Paul Thompson said politicians should tread carefully before embarking on a witch hunt. That could have a chilling effect on how journalists covered politicians.
Fairfax would protect the communications between its journalists and any contacts, regardless of whether they were the source of sensitive information or not.
“The protection of our sources is paramount,” Thompson said.
“We will resist any attempt to force us to release that sort of information.
“It’s the most fundamental commitment we make to our sources. We will go as far as we need to to protect that information.”
The protection of sources is a fundamental plank of journalistic freedom.
Fairfax is right to protect its sources.
Dunne could have shown the emails in confidence to David Henry who was investigating the leak. Having chosen not to, he can’t expect Fairfax to dig him out of the hole in which he’s found himself.
He used the importance of communication with an MP being able to remain confidential. That’s precisely the same argument which justifies Fairfax’s stance.