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Report No. 93

2.4. The privilege in law.-

It is not necessary for the present purpose to enumerate all these exceptions, or to catalogue the recognised evidentiary privileges. The question immediately for consideration is whether, to the list of such privileges, disclosure of the source of information obtained by a journalist in confidence should be added. In this context, it should also be pointed out at the outset, that while the breach of confidence in business and personal relationships may often be actionable (or, in some cases, even criminally punishable), the protection of confidence in itself as a basis for creating an exemption from the obligation to give evidence of the matters concerned has not so far been the approach adopted in most common law countries. Whenever, in the sphere of the law of evidence, a privilege has been recognised in respect of a confidential information, the law has generally insisted upon the presence of some other elements that would justify the recognition of an evidentiary privilege.1

1. See, further, Chapter 3, infra.

Disclosure of Sources of Information by Mass Media Back

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