Who needs Freedom of the Press when you got Conroy already?

Labor can’t handle the truth

The government blames the “Murdoch media” for holding it to account. We can’t have that.

Echoes of Bob Brown could be seen in the vindictive media regulation Communications Minister Stephen Conroy unveiled yesterday. (Miranda Devine)

The Gillard government will go down in history as the first Australian government outside of wartime to attack freedom of speech.

Who wants a failed  government in total control of the media? 

A GOVERNMENT-appointed enforcer would oversee press standards and have the power to apply sanctions, which critics said would stifle news reporting, under proposed draconian media changes.

“We have a right to a free press, but … “ (who needs it when you got Conroy already?)

The government’s proposed media reforms are a “take it or leave it” package which, if not passed by the end of next week, will be dumped, says Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

Shame? They have no shame:

The Gillard Government should be ashamed to even contemplate a de facto licensing of journalists. What is Australia coming to? We have leftist hatemongers tearing our society to pieces and faux conservatives who are too stupid or too gutless to stop them.  ALL politicians are self-interested. But few are as shameless as Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

A “licensing regime” for journalists 

Can we have licensed politicians then? The ones with common sense will get a licence, the others will have to get a real job.

In other news:

Lord Monckton discusses free speech and democracy under the climate scam:

See HERE for details

Under the Lord Monckton Foundation Charter:

“…The Lord Monckton Foundation shall conduct research, publish papers, educate students and the public and take every measure that may be necessary to restore the primacy and use of reason in science and public policy worldwide, especially insofar as they may bear upon the rights of the people fairly and fully to be informed, openly and freely to debate, and secretly by ballot to decide who shall govern them, what laws they shall live by and what imposts they shall endure.”

How would licensing and controlling journalists and the media enhance this?

 One step closer to totalitarian dictatorship:

Conroy’s media regulation proposals fail the public interest test

JAMES PATERSON From: The Australian

ALL politicians are self-interested. But few are as shameless as Communications Minister Stephen Conroy.

His proposed “media reforms” may be a thinly veiled response to a technologically driven changing media landscape, but we all know their real purpose: to punish and rein in the federal government’s critics in the media.

They amount to a massive expansion of government control over the media, and they have no place in a free society.

Conroy has been egged on by Labor backbenchers and the Greens for months about the evils of media companies such as News Limited, publisher of The Australian. Former Greens leader Bob Brown famously dubbed News as part of the “hate media” and called for licensing for newspaper proprietors. Current Greens leader Christine Milne called for a “fit and proper test” so the government could control who invested in the media.

In November 2011 Labor senator Doug Cameron said reporting in News Limited paper The Daily Telegraph that Kevin Rudd might challenge for leadership of the ALP amounted to a “threat to democracy”. Of course, when Rudd did challenge less than six months later, Cameron was among his number-crunchers.

Steve Gibbons, another Labor backbencher, even called for individual journalists to receive fines to improve the “fairness of our media”.

Conroy has finally delivered in spades for the most deranged critics of the media. Almost one year since it received the reports from the Convergence Review and Finkelstein inquiry, the government will now attempt to rush through its radical package before the federal election.

The changes include an attempt by the government to control currently independent bodies such as the Australian Press Council. A new public interest media advocate will oversee the press council’s activities.

This will mark the end of self-regulation in Australia. The new regulator will also apply an extremely vague “public interest” test to any changes in media ownership.

Placing this power in the hands of a government regulator inevitably will insert political considerations into what should purely be a commercial decision-making process. This delivers on the Greens’ hopes that some individuals could be prevented from owning a media outlet.

Australia now also effectively will have a press licensing system. Any media outlet not signed up to a government-endorsed media regulator will lose journalistic privileges such as exemptions from privacy laws.

This will force media groups that are not presently members of bodies such as the press council to join, and is a powerful threat to existing members that they must not leave. It will be virtually impossible to run a media outlet in Australia without being under the supervision of government-appointed bureaucrats.

The last time that media outlets were subject to press licensing in the English-speaking world was 1693. What was too tyrannical for the English in the time of William and Mary is apparently acceptable in 21st-century Australia.

A free press is an essential feature of a healthy liberal democracy. Media outlets should always feel free to criticise politicians and others in power without any fear of retribution. And that freedom does not just belong to the media. Its right to report freely is also essential for our right to hear freely. When the government limits the free speech of the media, it is also an attack on individuals’ access to the free flow of information and the right to be an informed citizen.

Conroy’s attack on the media is just the latest example of the Gillard government’s complete disregard for freedom of speech. The Liberal Party has already announced its opposition to Conroy’s proposals. It now falls to independent MPs to defend freedom of speech and block the government’s blatantly self-interested attempt to ram these laws through parliament before September.

James Paterson is editor of the IPA Review at the Institute of Public Affairs.