“A young cadet journalist claims
he was sacked after writing and researching stories seen as
unfavourable to Gunns’s proposed $1.5 billion pulp mill in northern
Tasmania,” Matthew Denholm writes in The Australian today. “Wes Young, a 25-year-old cadet at The Examiner newspaper based in Launceston, is taking an unfair dismissal claim to the Australian Industrial Relations Commission.”

When the then Launceston Examiner
editor, Rod Scott, left the paper in 2004 to join the staff of Labor
premier Paul Lennon, it seemed to confirm suspicions in the Apple Isle
that the paper was pro-government.

The mutterings over the Examiner’s
independence have continued under new editor Dean Southwell. Things
have come to a spectacular head with Southwell giving this
extraordinary defence of his editorship in today’s edition in response to new Green Senator Christine Milne’s outburst in the Senate earlier this week.

The too-ings and fro-ings of the “was Wes sacked or did he walk” saga are up on Tasmanian Times site.

It is not often the media in Tasmania comes in for criticism. The yarn has the local political tragics enthralled. The Examiner and the Tasmanian Times are now only talking via m’learned friends, with the Examiner claiming defamation and demanding removal of material, and the Times effectively taking the “publish and be damned” approach.

and games all round, but we shouldn’t forget the poor sod in the middle
of it all. Young has entered the public debate himself, making an
appearance on Tim Cox’s ABC radio morning show – maybe not the wisest
move if your case is before the AIRC. But he’s only a cadet, so he
might need some media advice.

Peter Fray

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