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Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Wide news coverage of Free Speech Audit.

There is further extensive coverage in the media today of the Audit Report on Free Speech. (See blog below). A google news search lists 56 articles.

The Australian includes "Flow of information blocked by government secrecy", "Shield law to protect journalists a sham", (Chris Merritt), "Judiciary must lift its act on gags", (Nicola Berkovic) and "Bureaucrats use word of mouth to avoid paper trail trap", (Paul Maley).

Matthew Ricketson in "Seen but going unheard" in The Age, identifies four central themes in the report - inadequate or inconsistent provision of information about the running of governments and courts; government secrecy about politically sensitive information; punitive targeting of whistleblowers and hypocritical approaches to leaks; and the use of public relations 'spin' at all levels of government and in the private sector. Ricketson says an equally important issue, not addressed in the report is the adequacy of accountability mechanisms for the news media and the secrecy surrounding some of its own practices.

Matthew Moore in "Over the first hurdle, now for the hard bit", suggests that the media organisations who advocate change, need to sign up for the long haul, put their hands in their pockets to provide ongoing funding, and bring others with an interest in these issues into the tent.

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