For whom the pell tolls

There is an active press suppression order in Australia, courtesy of the Victorian courts.

A prominent Australian has been convicted of a serious crime but the press are restricted from reporting on which (in)famous Australian in staring at some time in the big house.

Australian twitter is all over this like a cheap suit, bleating on about freedom of the press and the lunacy of a court order that can be sidestepped with about 10 seconds of work on Google.

However, before all the brave Australian journalists give themselves the Woodward and Bernstien Award for bravery under fire, let’s just remind them of their previous finest hour;

First up, the Sydney Morning Herald, tagline (without a hint of irony); “Independent. Always“.

To be balanced, here’s the News Corp version of the same headline;

Once you’ve Googled the name of the Victorian kiddy-fiddler, go back and search for how your most trusted news source reported this previous case. The ABC, the commercial TV news channels, all papers, etc. were similarly taciturn on precisely which ex-pat Australian was helping British police with their enquiries.

For those of you who don’t recall this episode in the long and painful death of Australian journalism, the “entertainer” wasn’t Barry Humphries or Clive James, but Rolf Harris. There wasn’t a court order preventing the press from naming him, they were just scared.

In fact, it was only when the British tabloid, The Sun (a newspaper that the other newspapers sneer at snobbishly), broke ranks and named him that the other organisations followed suit. Even then, several of our brave members of the Fourth Estate ended up reporting on The Sun reporting his name, in a pathetic attempt to head off a court case in the event they’d screwed up in a legal way.

Bill’s Opinion

Maybe there was a time when journalists deserved our respect, trust and, in times of repression by courts and governments, sympathy.

This would not be that time.



7 Replies to “For whom the pell tolls”

  1. I remember years of controversy over the cardinal involvement of someone high-up concerning his or her’s relations with those of more tender years. Can we be sure that this conviction has any credibility? Or is it impossible to know because of the restrictions?

    1. I have much scepticism with many of these historic claims of sexual abuse by famous people. Not that I don’t think they are innocent but the incentives exist for false claims far more than for a regular Joe.
      If someone makes an accusation against you or I for a 30 year old crime, a successful prosecution would be the end of the matter. For a celebrity or other person in the public eye, it often results in more claims appearing with varying levels of credibility. Some, not all, will be completely false. The number of false claims is unlikely to be zero.
      This is why the police and media colluded in the Cliff Richard debacle, to go fishing for more “victims”.

    2. Apparently the juries verdict was unanimous which would all things being equal prove beyond reasonable doubt that he did it.

      The next trial for the second charges is still to take place and Pell is now in medical care so that may delay it.

  2. Interestingly enough the judge’s name is Kidd. One has to speculate whether, in the course of the trial, our pal offered to hear the good judge’s confession. Or perhaps he just has a picture of the beak doing it with a sheep.

    1. “Or perhaps he just has a picture of the beak doing it with a sheep.”

      That’ll be taught in schools as being fine behaviour in about 5 years’ time.

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