Whistleblower Protection Act
Section 3 also is poorly written. Depending on how it could be read, it prohibits the media from publishing a person's personally identifying information (such as names) unless that person is party to a crime committed by a government official. This is a substantial limit on the freedom of the press: media outlets would no longer be able to report on crimes committed entirely by private individuals and unconnected to government action. This not only harms press freedom, but also the ability of the press to report on private misdeeds, meaning more unethical behaviour goes unreported, harming society writ large.
Or it might read that both whistleblowers and media outlets need publish to take such an action, which doesn't make sense, as whistleblowers do not publish: media outlets do. This dual-party interpretation then makes the provision more-or-less entirely inapplicable because whistleblowers are not publishers. The first interpretation (and its consequent impacts on press freedom) should therefore be preferred to one which effectively omits the entire clause.
Moreover, section 6(a)'s provision which bars seeking legal recourse prohibits the starting of a defamation lawsuit unless the statement was 'proven to be demonstrably false'. Note that 'proven' is in the past tense. Such a bar in effect closes off all recourse: to have something proven false in a court of law, it must first be proved before a judge, which cannot happen because 'seek[ing] legal recourse' is prohibited. Even governments have a right not to be lied about, destroying that right cannot be what was intended.
For these reasons, the WA Office recommends a vote against 'Whistleblower Protection Act'.
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