Journalists are up in Canberra – seeking special privileges.
News Corp and the ABC have confirmed to a Senate Committee that journalists at the centre of police raids in June still do not know whether they could be criminally prosecuted.
News Flash: Yes, you can be criminally prosecuted. The question is will you be criminally prosecuted. Dear god – the number of people who struggle with the concepts of “could”, “would”, and “should” seems to an especial problem in the media.
News organisations, including News Corp (publisher of The Australian), Nine Entertainment and the ABC, are demanding changes to laws that include allowing media organisations to contest warrants by police, exemption for journalists from national security laws that make journalism an offence, greater protections for whistleblowers and less documentation stamped “secret” that currently represses reporting.
So hard to get excited about this – I know that a federal senator was trying to alert the media to this problem well before the parliament passed the laws. But the media were too pre-occupied with scoring cheap shots, talking about themselves, and/or promoting their own pet causes to pay any attention. Now they want a carve-out for themselves?
“We are being forcefully reminded every day that a free press is the cornerstone of a good democracy. It is in this environment that we need to find ways to empower journalism and not to penalise it,’’ Mr Reid told the committee.
This whole “media is a cornerstone of democracy” argument has become tired. I’m becoming less and less convinced that it is true. It may well be the case that democracy provides us with media, not media provides us with democracy.