Sometimes media companies operate in the strangest ways.
Readers who have been following Crikey‘s coverage of the so-called Ozleaks case will know that News Limited spent about 18 months trying to suppress a report critical of its conduct, which included details of an alleged conversation between the-then editor of The Australian, Paul Whittaker, and the Australian Federal Police’s Tony Negus.
Those details finally came out as a result of Crikey and The Age arguing against a suppression order in the Melbourne Magistrates Court last month.
Since then, The Australian has even less than usually friendly to us.
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Meanwhile, the background to the Ozleaks case formed part of my submission to the federal government’s media inquiry last month.
The submission, with many others, was posted to the inquiry’s website, but the section on the Ozleaks case was redacted by me at the request of inquiry staff, due to matters being before the courts.
I didn’t think this needed to be done — the submission, contains nothing that is not already on the public record, nothing likely to prejudice the case presently before the courts, and nothing that I have not already written for Crikey. But the inquiry is cautious on such matters.
Last week, I received an email from the inquiry informing me that legal counsel for Nationwide News, Jane Summerhayes, had requested the release of the redacted section. In a letter to the inquiry, Summerhayes wrote that the redacted section “concerns allegations against my client. In the interests of natural justice, kindly provide me with a copy of the unredacted submission so that my client is afforded the opportunity to respond to those allegations”.
The inquiry secretariat said that it had yet to determine whether it would release the whole submission, but in the meantime, asked whether I would be prepared to provide a copy to Nationwide News if they asked me for it.
The answer is yes.
And, in the interests of maximum transparency, Crikey readers can have it too. Here it is.