Articles on Media freedom

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Journalists face long jail terms for reporting information relating to ‘special intelligence operations’, as declared by ASIO, under the government’s proposed reforms. AAP/Lukas Coch

National security bills compound existing threats to media freedom

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) will publish its report on the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 1) 2014 (Cth) sometime during this sitting of parliament…
Treasurer Joe Hockey has commenced defamation proceedings against several Fairfax newspapers over the ‘Treasurer for sale’ story. AAP/Dean Lewins

Hockey’s defamation suit shows need for wider free speech debate

Treasurer Joe Hockey’s decision to sue Fairfax Media for defamation over the now-notorious front-page story “Treasurer for sale” raises interesting questions about politicians suing to protect their reputation…
There is a raw interaction of politics, media and the people in Pacific nations such as Vanuatu, scene of this public rally. David Robie

E-libel laws the new front line in Pacific battle for press freedom

Today, while the world marks Press Freedom Day, draconian cyber defamation laws, journalist killings and legal gags are growing threats to the media across the Asia-Pacific. Media intersects with the raw…
Silencing dissent: al-Jazeera journalists in a court cage during their trial. Al-Masry al-Ayoum/EPA

Opinions are dangerous as Egypt cracks down on dissent

As I write this, 20 journalists – including several al-Jazeera reporters – are on trial in Cairo on charges of spreading disinformation and abetting terrorists. Their alleged crime includes operating without…
What’s behind Al Jazeera’s frosty relationship with the Egyptian government? AAP/Terry Scott

Al Jazeera’s troubled history in Egypt

In 1999, then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak visited the small, dusty Al Jazeera compound in a suburb of the Qatari capital of Doha. “This matchbox! All this noise is coming out of this matchbox?” Mubarak…
There’s no clear need for a review of the ABC’s operations – and such calls have a long history. Sarah Ackerman

What would be the point of yet another ABC inquiry?

Prime minister Tony Abbott may be a fan of institutional inquiries and a critic of supposed ABC bias, but he has nothing to gain by responding to calls for yet another review of the ABC. First, there’s…
The news media and politicians often squabble over whether an issue is the public or national interest, renewing a centuries-old debate. AAP/David Crosling

Right to know: the ‘nation’, the ‘people’ and the Fourth Estate

We might forgive politicians for putting the “national” interest before the “public” interest. But when the news media makes the same mistake, it is time to be worried. The Guardian and the ABC rightly…
Where does the ADF’s deep-seated resentment of the media come from, and how did it manifest in Afghanistan? AAP/Department of Defence

Don’t mention the war: lessons for the media from Afghanistan

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) has long been wary of the media’s power to derail its promotional narratives and damage careers in the process. But there was nothing irrational about its members’ determination…
The ADF wants to fashion its own narratives about what its troops have achieved in Afghanistan. Department of Defence

Looking for failure? Why the ADF hates the Australian media

Last week, prime minister Kevin Rudd and opposition leader Tony Abbott opened the Australian War Memorial’s new exhibition, Afghanistan: the Australian Story. That public attention on the war is now shifting…
Australia’s richest person Gina Rinehart has failed in her legal bid to force journalist Steve Pennells to reveal his sources for a series of stories. AAP/Tony McDonough

Pennells decision a win for source protection and investigative journalism

In a landmark ruling, the Western Australian Supreme Court has dismissed an attempt from mining magnate Gina Rinehart to force a journalist to disclose his sources and materials. Steve Pennells, a senior…
The revolution will not be televised. Alan Hilditch via Creative Commons

Turkish mainstream media’s mask has finally slipped

While protesters were asleep, police stormed Istanbul’s Gezi Park using tear gas and water cannons. They set fire to the encampments. And yet pictures of bloodied protesters, or those blinded by plastic…
Media organisations, such as the Kim Williams-led News Limited, have united to dispute the government’s new whistleblowing legislation. AAP/Lukas Coch

Strengthening whistleblower legislation: media industry unites

The Australian media industry is united in its opposition to some key provisions of the federal government’s new whistleblower legislation - now before parliament - and is pushing for some significant…
What are the ethics of media outlets reporting on the ICIJ’s leaks of tax haven dealings by individuals worldwide? EPA/Andy Rain

Trial by list: the ICIJ and questions about secrets, shame and leaks

There’s nothing like the sight of dirty linen on the line to make people indulge in a bout of lipsmacking self-righteousness and praise the noble-hearted crusading journalists. This week has seen much…
Fairfax journalist Paddy Manning was sacked after writing an opinion piece critical of company strategy for Crikey. AAP/Julian Smith

Paddy Manning: the Fairfax watchdog eats one of its own

Sacked Fairfax business writer Paddy Manning appears to have set out on a suicide mission when he wrote for Crikey this week about problems with the plans to merge the BusinessDay sections of The Sydney…
Fairfax’s Richard Baker and Nick McKenzie are two of the five journalists currently involved in legal disputes for not revealing their sources. Image supplied by MEAA

Protecting the journalists’ privilege: reporters go to court

The protection of confidential sources is an ethical and legal minefield for journalists in Australia, despite the introduction over the past two years of so-called journalists’ privilege in several jurisdictions…
The stories of real people are often missing from media reports on asylum seeker detention centres. AAP

Media needs improved access to asylum seekers in detention: experts

Greater transparency and improved access for the media to interview asylum seekers in detention is required say human rights…

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