Role of journalist must be defined: Hanson

Pauline Hanson says journalistic credentials need to be toughened up.
Pauline Hanson says journalistic credentials need to be toughened up.

One Nation leader Pauline Hanson believes journalistic credentials need to be toughened up to stop anyone from calling themselves a journalist, again raising the prospect of a licensing system.

Senator Hanson was responding to a national "Right to Know" campaign launched on Monday by Australia's major media outlets calling for better protections for whistleblowers and journalists doing their jobs.

"But we've got to be very careful who we define as being a journalist. People who write a book could be classified as a journalist or those people that blog on Facebook," she told the Nine Network.

"But I believe that people must be accountable to the public whoever they are, what position they are in."

The issue of a licensing system for journalists has been raised in the past because effectively, in Australia, anyone can call themselves a journalist.

But opponents have pointed to China's restrictions on reporters, raising questions about who or what authority should decide if someone can work as a journalist.

Meanwhile, Senator Hanson said she didn't think the media campaign would resonate with Australians although "I think it should".

The nation's major commercial and public media companies are warning against creeping laws that allow elected governments to cover-up scandals and hide or restrict information.

The media companies want law changes so journalists don't fear imprisonment for doing their jobs and stronger protections for whistleblowers.

Australian Associated Press