Today we’ll defer to Margaret Simons, writing on her blog The Content Makers this morning as the Guthrie v News Ltd case continues to rage in court and the details of the Cameron Stewart leaks case remain suppressed:

It is interesting that today News Ltd CEO, John Hartigan, writing in today’s Media section of the Australian to mark World Press Freedom Day, gives governments a report card on the effort so far, with brownie points awarded for to the Rudd Government for progress on FoI reform, among other things. Elsewhere the paper gives space to other aspects of the issues. Not that Harto paints too rosy a picture. There is still a long way to go, and journalists are pretty much as restricted now as they were a year ago, he says.

All well and good, and as I have said before, one can only be glad that the work is being done, and grateful to those who do it.

Yet I could not help feeling, as I read Harto’s fine words, what a report card on the role of newspaper executives and editors would look like. What grade would we give News Limited, and other Right to Know Coalition partners, on issues such as invasion of privacy (thus sabotaging any attempt to forestall restrictive privacy legislation)?

Sadly, when it comes to media campaigns, the moral high ground is awfully slippery.

Peter Fray

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