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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Climate change innuendo beats dull law issues every time

The barbs continue to fly concerning media reporting of threats made to climate scientists, in this round, sparked by access to documents as a result of the decision by Privacy Commissioner Pilgrim that 11 documents held by the ANU were not exempt under the Freedom of Information Act, with Jonathon Holmes on Media Watch last night concluding
One news outlet comes out of it, in our opinion, almost unscathed: Fairfax Media's The Canberra Times. The ABC doesn't look so great, and The Australian looks worst of all.
Chris Merritt Legal Editor at The Australian (subscription) isn't letting go:
Holmes also criticised The Australian, but the basis of his criticism was in error.
Holmes gave the impression that the newspaper's reports debunking death threats at the ANU had extended to other alleged death threats at other universities.
The Australian's reporting of the issue has focused on tracking the progress of Mr Turnill's FOI request, which focused only on ANU.
Holmes also mistakenly asserted that The Canberra Times had not reported there had been death threats at ANU. But articles to the contrary were published by that newspaper on June 4 and 5 last year.
The June 5 report, which is available online, says: "Security has been tightened at the Australian National University in Canberra after several climate change scientists received death threats."
(Update: And kept on in the days since.)

Silly old me-weeks ago when the OAIC decision was published I thought the comparative law issue was interesting. It hasn't attracted a mention in the back and forward since.

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