I wasn’t going to say anything about the greyhound baiting revelations on ABC’s 4 Corners Monday night. It turned my stomach. I thought it a terrific piece of investigative journalism. What it must have taken to film all that!
Then last night on 7.30 Report I listened to Liberal Senator Chris Back stating that he had drafted a Bill that would require that the source material be handed over to some ‘authority’ within 5 days of acquisition, arguing that such handovers would expedite action to stop whatever it is that is going on.
He’s assuming of course, that said authority has no vested interest and is immune from corruption and has the capacity to take such swift action.
Meanwhile, whistleblowers and journalists beware!
No journalist gaining access to any material that might harm the reputation of any organisation will be allowed to hold onto that material and produce a film that explores and probes the issue in question.
There is a reason why this freedom exists for journalists, this ability to investigate behind the scenes then reveal to the public their findings.
It is not to create a sensation, although a sensation is often the result.
It is to expose hidden truths, hold the corrupt to account, help keep all pockets of society, especially those beyond the reach of ordinary citizens, in check.
If this Bill is passed, journalists will be forced to hand over source material to a government or other authoritative body whose job it will be to investigate the matter.
The potential for corruption and suppression of truth is enormous.
In other words, if this Bill passes we will most likely only get authorised, sanitised, heavily redacted versions of events, those that our government of the day wants us to see.
I thought that sort of censorship and control of the media was evident in countries with dictatorial or totalitarian styles of governance. Those with appalling human rights records.