Vol. 12 No. 2 (2006): Eco-journalism and security
Photo: © Ben Bohane
Editor: David Robie
Anti-terror laws threaten media freedom
Australia’s tough anti-terror laws have impacted strongly on the media and contrasted with more relaxed policies in New Zealand and the Pacific, says a report in the latest Pacific Journalism Review. A survey of the status of anti-terrorism legislation and the media in the region has revealed marked differences in the impact on news organisations in Australia, NZ and the Pacific. “Australia has clearly taken a strong anti-terrorism position, reflecting its partnership with the United States and the United Kingdom in the so-called ‘coalition of the willing’ invasion of Iraq,” write Bond University media law Professor Mark Pearson and researcher Naomi Busst. The authors also cite the terrorist bombings in the tourist hub of Bali in 2002 and 2005 as major factors in the tough Australian laws. Australia’s “spate of legislation since 2001 has made it a model jurisdiction for the tightening of the powers of enforcement and security agencies in the battle against terrorism, but in the process it has drawn strong criticism from civil rights groups and media organisations for compromising the basic freedoms of its citizens and the press”.