As the mainstream media finally responded in force to the government’s creeping authoritarianism (a little late, Bernard Keane wrote yesterday) Crikey readers were right there with them. Readers agreed to the need for a stand from media companies, and offered their ideas for checking the government’s attempts at control. Elsewhere, readers discussed the the alt-right’s (and conservatives’) “memeification” of white supremacy.
Alison Whitley write: Outrageous that Australians do not have constitutional protections for their basic rights. Is it too much to ask for a government that is trustworthy and honest? It seems to pick and choose “need to know” information to the public. Shades of Orwell’s Animal Farm. Just who does the Australian government think it is representing anyway?
Dennis Pratt writes: Even better than Bernard’s suggestion of not publishing the “authorised” leaks would be to publish them with the explanation of who dropped them and what they hoped to gain by doing so. That would really stop them. The other thing that could be done is for somebody to publish the list of which politicians background which journalists. All the journalists know, but the public is only given occasional hints.
Don Wormald writes: Congratulations to media organisations for their principled stand against the creeping authoritarianism infecting Australia. During WWII the then-Packer owned Daily Telegraph was intending to publish an embarrassing story on a purely domestic issue which had absolutely nothing to do with the war effort and thus should not have been subject to censorship. The minister responsible for wartime censorship, Arthur Calwell, ordered the publication of the story not go ahead. Packer was incensed at this blatant abuse of censorship power and had the front page of the paper printed with the lead story area blank with a diagonal “censored” slash across the blank columns. Caldwell did not like this approach. It seems our current crop of politicians are as thin-skinned as Calwell. We must remain vigilant.
Michael Donohoe writes: Instead of not reporting the government’s own leaks/news drops, which will further reduce our insight into government activities, why not make it clear that the leak came from an unnamed official source. Journalists could also assure their official sources that to protect national security and the effective running of government they will, of course, provide all details of their source for the story to the federal police if requested.
Adrian Jackson writes: What MPs need to remember is we voters dictate to them what we want to happen in Australia not the government dictating to we Australians what they think we want or they the MPs want.
Joe Boswell writes: Just so. And let’s not kid ourselves that it’s only the alt-right. For example, Trump and his enablers routinely do the same. It is long past time to stop accepting this. Airport security shows the way. If you are asked by security what is in your bag, you could say you have a bomb and then try telling them it was a joke. Their response will be much more amusing than your joke. Whatever someone says or does should always meet the response it deserves on its simple face value.
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