The arrogant, insufferable Press Council

How lucky was freedom of speech in Australia to see the end of the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd circus and its repeated efforts to crimp the unfettered right to publish and dissent?

This lucky — but before clicking the link and seeing what freedom’s enemies do with their time and other people’s money, read IPA Executive Director John Roskam’s response (below) to a complaint that typifies the arrogant presumptions of some to determine what may be said and how it can be said:

From: John Roskam

To: Derek Wilding
Subject: RE: Article in Freedom Watch

Dear Mr Wilding,
Thank you for your letter. The actions of the Press Council during the recent federal election were absolutely outrageous and completely inappropriate in a free and democratic country. What the Press Council did was an attack on freedom of speech and freedom of the press in Australia. What the IPA’s Chris Berg said about the Press Council was accurate

Someone has to stand up for freedom of speech in Australia. Sadly, the Australian Press Council doesn’t. 

I would be absolutely delighted to publish your letter on the IPA’s FreedomWatch website so that Australians can see for themselves how the Press Council threatens one of our most basic freedoms — freedom of speech. That way people will be able to hear both sides of the argument and will be able to make up their own minds.

My belief that individuals should be free to hear both sides of an argument and should be free to make up their own minds is unfortunately not a belief held by the previous Gillard government or by Ray Finkelstein or by all those other individuals and groups in this country that seek to take away one of our basic freedoms.

Without freedom of speech it is impossible to have freedom of thought and without freedom of thought it is impossible to have human dignity.

That is why the Institute of Public Affairs fights for human freedom every single day. 

John Roskam

In the Fairfax press on Wednesday, former Media Watch presenterJonathan Holmes was snivelling that the Finkelstein review of the media never quite managed to impose the authority of the courts on reporters, writers and editors.

Thank God that Holmes’ fondest dream was frustrated. It is all too easy to picture what a Press Council-type supervisory body would do if, in addition to hectoring letters, it also had the power to confront writers with jail sentences.

Roger Franklin is the editor of Quadrant Online.





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