May 7, 2008

The government denial of the Sunday Times raid: Why we couldn’t swallow it

Last week 16 police officers raided The Sunday Times’ newsroom and the broad-daylight raid, prompted howls of outrage that have left the various government departments involved quaking in their boots, writes Kayt Davies.

A couple of weeks ago I marked a pile of essays addressing the question "What role does the media play in liberal democracies?" The students enthusiastically recapped the history of the premise that the media is the fourth estate, the defender of the separation of the powers and democracy’s watchdog.

Last week, 16 police officers raided Perth's Sunday Times newsroom. They weren’t investigating the paper, it had done nothing wrong. They were looking for clues about the identity of someone who spoke to a journalist about "secret government business", business so secret it qualified for protection under the section of the criminal code that deals with "Disclosing official secrets".

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One thought on “The government denial of the Sunday Times raid: Why we couldn’t swallow it

  1. Tom McLoughlin

    Leaking per se is neither corruption nor major fraud unless linked to developer advantage or espionage of commercial in confidence, or other sinister motives. It might be technical misconduct yet major public interest. So unless it’s real corruption or sinister leaking it’s just damn politically embarrassing, perhaps breach of employment for disloyalty justifying the sack. But its not a worthy allocation of resources meant for genuinely criminal behaviour. Coppers who could be doing something important have been off on a political goose chase. That in itself is govt waste in the Auditor General sense here in NSW. That’s poor governance and the buck stops with the WA police minister and ultimately Premier Carpenter as he surely must know. Maybe a judge should decide if there is prima facie evidence greater sinister circumstances of genuinely criminal type leaking to justify such police raids as opposed to political witch hunts?

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