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.
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.