Glenn Milne could not have made a bolder statement about the barriers to freedom of expression than he did last night. In attacking Crikey founder Stephen Mayne in front hundreds of journalists, Milne highlighted the very issue of violence against journalists that former Today Tonight frontman Stan Grant had highlighted in a speech just minutes earlier.

Grant spoke with passion about the 150 journalists who have lost their lives this year simply by doing their job and pursuing the truth. UNESCO enshrined the protection of journalists in the following resolution:

Resolution 29 “Condemnation of violence against journalists”
General Conference 29th Session, Paris, November 1997
The General Conference

Recalling Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers”…

Reporters Without Borders details the many battles the world’s journalists are fighting not just in getting the story, but also in getting that story to the public.

Censorious regimes, imprisonment, even assassination are all risks associated with being a journalist in various parts of the world. Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya and dissident Alexander Litvinenko are two recent examples of the high price some journalists pay for simply doing their job and offending the wrong people.

If last night’s incident is any measure, awards ceremonies might soon be added to the list of high risk situations for which journalists must find protection.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey