“An inquiry into press freedom must include laws which infringe on the freedom of speech of all Australians, such as Section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act,” said Gideon Rozner, Director of Policy at free-market think tank the Institute of Public Affairs.
The Institute of Public Affairs today announced its support for an independent inquiry into press freedom, in response to the controversial raids of a reporter’s home and at ABC headquarters recently in the course of tracking down possible illegal breaches of national security by public servants.
“The ability of people to scrutinise those in power is fundamental to a free society,” said Mr Rozner.
“However, this right isn’t limited to professional journalists. It is a freedom of all Australians.”
“Freedom of the press is just a part of freedom of speech. Any inquiry into freedom of the press must logically consider freedom of speech.”
“You cannot credibly describe freedom of speech for all Australians as a culture war issue, while describing freedom of speech for journalists as fundamental to our democracy. Both are equally as important.”
“No one at the ABC batted an eyelid when Greens leader Richard Di Natale campaigned to use hate speech laws to regulate the media. Nor was there outrage at the ABC when the Gillard Government proposed oversight to make the media “balanced” and “accountable”.”
“The inconsistent outrage of the journalist class should not distract the government from other serious threats to freedom of speech in Australia, such as section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act and Australia’s harsh defamation laws,” said Mr Rozner.
For media and comment: Evan Mulholland, Director of Communications, on 0405 140 780, or at [email protected]