The key ingredient to a free society is a free press and the liberty to say as you please without invoking the tyranny of government. With the release of Ray Finkelstein’s 400 page report into the media, we seem to be losing grasp on what should be a non-negotiable right. Timothy Andrews of Menzies House writes:
Its “recommendations” should sicken every single Australian: They actually call for a Big Brother Super-Regulator to censor not just the newspapers and TV, but websites, personal blogs, and even what you say on Twitter! This is a proposal that would seem right at home in North Korea or Zibmabwe. I never thought – as dark as things seemed- we could stoop this low here in Australia. The size and scope of the proposed Super-Regulator is breathtaking. They will have the power to impose a “code of ethics”, force you to print views you don’t agree with as part of a ‘right of reply’, take you to court, and even make you take pieces down! Even personal blogs that get only 40 hits a day will be covered! To make matters worse, the SuperRegulator “would not have to give reasons for its decisions” and the decisions “would not be subject to appeal.” Even climate change websites in other countries like Watt’s Up With That will be coved by this!This is not a matter of partisan politics. If you are left wing or right wing, you should take action against this horror.
This very blog falls into the category deemed by Finkelstein to be regulatory-worthy, such is the loose criteria. It also contends that the ABC is the most unbiased news outlet in the country. Furthermore, it takes particular aim at global warming skeptics, taking keen notice of the testimony of Robert Manne.
I would urge everyone concerned about the future of Australia to sign the petition for the government to reject the report outright and to write to their local member of parliament. If we are to be serious in standing up for our most important right, then MPs should be completely inundated with our concerns. I wrote to the member for Corio, Richard Marles.
Mr Marles, I note with great concern the contents of Ray Finkelstein’s report into the media, which recommends unprecedented powers of regulation into newspapers, TV and even online commentary. I myself run a blog which is often critical of the current government and I fear the way this could be abused to censor dissent. Sir, no one should wield this sort of power. It is an affront to our democratic system and an assault on our freedom of speech. I urge you Mr Marles, as a member of the Australian government, to speak up against such a media watchdog.
Andrew Bolt, already a victim of the assault on what we write, highlights the importance of free speech.