Petition for Photographer's rights! (Australia)

Started Mar 11, 2007 | Discussions thread
Chato
Chato Forum Pro • Posts: 46,792
Scary post

IvaBigin wrote:

Australia's press freedoms lag

March 15, 2007 04:00am
Article from: AAP

http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,21385591-5005961,00.html

INCREASING police and government intervention in the media has
dragged Australia's press freedoms below those of many former
Soviet bloc countries, according to the international journalism
watchdog.

The Australian branch of the Commonwealth Press Union has been told
Australia is ranked 35th on the Reporters Without Borders 2006
Index of Press Freedom, down from a ranking of 31 in 2005.

"Australia's slide into a state of secrecy accelerated in 2006,"
Warren Beeby, chairman of the CPU Australia section, told the
union's annual general meeting.

Mr Beeby said regular incursions by the Australian Federal Police
into newsrooms to unearth journalists' sources and Federal
Government laws to gag the media and intimidate public servants
were alarming.

Reporters Without Borders cited several reasons for Australia's
poor ranking on press freedom, which it said put it "well behind a
raft of former Soviet bloc countries and less developed nations
like Bolivia, Costa Rica and Namibia".

The list included the convictions of Herald-Sun journalists Gerard
McManus and Michael Harvey for contempt of court for refusing to
divulge the source of a story, reporting bans under anti-terrorism
laws, a ban on journalists interviewing refugees and the High
Court's failure to support Freedom of Information laws.

Mr Beeby said Federal Treasurer Peter Costello's successful action
to prevent The Australian newspaper publishing details of taxation
"bracket creep" and details of the first home buyers' scheme
exemplified the Government's obsession with secrecy.

"The crackdown is seen not only as an attempt to deter journalists
from breaking news out of Canberra, but also as a bid to intimidate
public servants," said Mr Beeby, News Limited's group editorial
manager and a director of AAP.

"At the same time, federal and state governments employ spin
doctors in their hundreds to ensure only approved versions of
stories see the light of day and to keep reporters off the scent of
adverse or controversial stories."

He also said suppression orders and restrictions on media access to
court documents help make Australia's legal system "one of the
least transparent in the developed world".

"In further potential blows to investigative journalism, the
Australian Law Reform Commission is reviewing the media exemption
in the Privacy Act, despite there being no major concerns about its
operation,and the federal Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, wants
bans to be imposed on the taking of photographs in public places."

Mr Beeby also warned media companies to be wary of a trend among
sporting bodies to sell exclusive web and mobile phone rights to
sponsors.

"Some sports are also selling official photographic rights with the
apparent intent of eventually excluding newspaper photographers
from games, so that only approved pictures will be issued for
publication," he said.

"It is a problem that newspaper companies will have to monitor
closely as the football season gets under way."

From the above article, it sounds like this ban on taking photographs in public places is using privacy/pedophilia as a cover for a much broader pattern of censorship. Makes sense. When you want to limit peoples freedoms, you always say its for their own good and protection; you Never use the word censorship.

These things are done incrementally - And it sounds like theier making good progress in Australia. No doubt the same pattern, already underway in the US, will accelerate as tiime goes on.

Dave

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