Saturday 8th of August 2020

and now she has been made foreign minster of this silly country where freedom of the press is dead...


Defence agencies are refusing to say whether they consulted the then defence minister Marise Payne before referring leaks of classified information to the Australian federal police.

The AFP has confirmed that it began its investigations into the ABC’s report of alleged unlawful killings by Australian troops in Afghanistan and Annika Smethurst’s report of plans to extend spy powers after it received referrals from agency heads in July 2017 and August 2018 respectively.

Payne was the relevant minister for both the defence department and the Australian Signals Directorate at the time of the referrals.

Both agencies refused to respond to questions from Guardian Australia about whether they had consulted Payne before asking the AFP to investigate, with the Department of Defence saying it would be “inappropriate” to respond.

The AFP faces the possibility of two inquiries into its widely condemned actions when parliament resumes next month. The chair of the committee overseeing law enforcement agencies, Craig Kelly, has pledged to review the AFP’s conduct, while crossbench senators are also pushing for a separate Senate probe.


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cronyism or sleeping in the same flowerbed?...

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has appointed a friend and political ally to the plum diplomatic post of High Commissioner to New Zealand in the latest episode likely to earn claims of cronyism.

Senator Payne will announce on Saturday that the former New South Wales Liberal MP Patricia Forsythe will become the top diplomat to Australia's closest neighbour, a role has typically been held by career Department of Foreign Affairs officers.

The two have reportedly been friends since the 1990s and close political allies from the moderate faction of the NSW Liberal Party.

The revelation is likely to fuel claims of nepotism in the Morrison government, following Attorney-General Christian Porter's appointment of a recent former adviser to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal on a salary of up to $244,000 a year, and the swift naming of former Liberal Senator David Bushby to a diplomatic post in the US.



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exposing the nefarious works and deeds of the powerful...

If there are to be press freedoms, we must look to and criticise the silencing and prosecution of Western journalists, writes Daniel Safi.

WHY SHOULD WE be surprised about the Australian Federal Police's (AFP) brazen raids when an Australian journalism advocacy organisation like the Alliance For Journalists’ Freedom does not include in its sights a single Western journalist or whistleblower currently being prosecuted or in prison?

The damage organisations like this can do to our democracy cannot be understated.

Good journalism is dangerous by definition. By “good journalism”, we mean, exposing the nefarious works and deeds of the powerful. Of course the role of the whistleblower is central in this, often acting as the journalist’s source of primary information. So whistleblowers constitute a basic component of the journalistic process and a free press.

Hunting down whistleblowers is clearly an attack by proxy on journalism. This is why we have shield laws, or in the U.S. reporter’s privilege, a recognition of the crucial role whistleblowers and sources play in a free press. 

Beware those who try and maintain some hard distinction between the rights of journalists and the rights of whistleblowers.

By suppressing the latter, the real aim is to suppress both.

The only mention in this Alliance for Journalists’ website of a whistleblower detained in the West is in a piece by Peter Greste, declaring, 'Julian Assange is no journalist' (A technicality which one may or may not agree with. Countries like Myanmar and Turkey do not ever truly arbitrarily detain journalists and whistleblowers — they cook up legal nonsense that allows them to).

As former whistleblower and now journalist and writer Jesselyn Radack states:

So what is the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom doing, if not advocating for the most prominent whistleblowers and journalists and leakers under attack in the West? Focusing on countries like Myanmar, Turkey, Hungary and the Philippines — the bogeymen of the international community.  

Advocating for the rights of journalists in these countries is an immensely important task, but if you are not also advocating for the local journalists and whistleblowers being imprisoned in our very own countries for speaking truth to power, then serious questions need to be asked of your organisation’s agenda.

Like whistleblower Richard Boyle who exposed unethical practices at our own ATO and is now facing the possibility of 161 years in prison.

Or Daniel Hale in the U.S., who leaked documents on drone warfare and is now facing 50 years in prison.

Or former FBI officer Terry Albury who was charged and imprisoned for forwarding documents to the media detailing FBI powers, among others both known and no doubt unknown.

Alas, if only we had some independent, free press advocacy organisation to do the digging and inform the public about these.


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cathy's view...


soldier of fortune...



Without Murdoch, this frightening useless cynical Scummo government would have bitten the dust. Though the Murdoch media got some flack from the AFP, Gus is cynical enough and knowledgeable enough to guess that this raid on the Murdoch establishment was a counterpoint to "avoid" the GET THE ABC exclusive tag associated with these raids.


The main raid of course is the ongoing ransacking of the ABC already meagre coffers — under the covert direction of the full ultra-right fascist commercial media. 


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le monde tries to protect the freedom of the press...


Le Monde editorial...




"It is sometimes necessary to change certain laws," said Montesquieu. "But the case is rare, and when it arrives, it must be touched with a trembling hand."


The law of July 29, 1881 is one of the founding texts of the Third Republic, and is the base for the freedom of the press, directly inspired by the Declaration of the droits de l’homme of 1789.

A cure worse than evil

This is a complex law where, contrary to common law, the journalist, like the publishers, are presumed guilty and must establish good faith and the validity of the work in a correctional court. The law is fraught with pitfalls, deadlines and quasi-Byzantine formalism, but it is a protective text that has ensured for a hundred and fifty years the fragile balance between the rights and duties of journalists.

Read also "The law of 1881 imposes a rigour of judgment which makes it possible to avoid arbitrariness"

Removing insult and defamation components amounts to emptying the law of 1881 of its content, since these two offences represent 90% of the litigation of press offences — which would no longer be press offences. The subtle mysteries of the law have been vigorously reinforced by the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Cassation: defamatory information — that is to say, that undermines the honour or the consideration of someone —  are not punishable in the case of "public interest" information and, moreover, that they are based on "a sufficient factual basis".


Read also Sophie Obadia: "It is the hateful insult that is targeted and not the work of journalists"

There are other ways to fight against hateful or racist hate speech on the Internet. The LRM Laetitia Avia's law proposal tries, not without difficulties and ardent controversy, to deal with it. Dismantling the 1881 law would certainly be a worse remedy than evil and would indirectly suggest that power is not resigned not to interfere with the necessary evil against the independence of the press.

The convocations in recent months of journalists for breach of defense secrecy, on the sale of French weapons for the war in Yemen or the Benalla affair, have already caused some confusion. The remarks — immediately withdrawn — by Cédric O, secretary of state for Information Digital, who had proposed "a council of conduct for journalists" to fight against false information — by warning that failing this, would "at the end of the end", force the state to intervene — has made people edgy.

Especially since Emmanuel Macron had already warned that he "had not seen this [new] idea since Italy in the 1930s". The law of 1881 was built, good year, bad year, on the freedom to inform. Even with a trembling hand, there is no need to empty it of its meaning.


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Translation by Jules Letambour


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