Melissa Petrak- Censorship of the Truth Down Under- seems under handed

Censorship of the Truth Down Under- seems under handed

By Melissa Petrak
A year to the day- and Timor Leste’s proposal to implement licenses to journalists remains uncertain. Newly elected Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araujo’s decision on the matter has not been announced.

The idea of licensing journalists impedes on freedom of speech as Bob Howarth puts it,” how do you define a journalist ’Many successful journalists have not had the conventional education one might expect.[1]
RSF along with other media experts oppose such licenses it is a breach upon media freedom.

The idea of licensing journalists is not new. Bob Howarth says it eventuated from Portugal after Salazazar’s strict regime set a similar framework for journalists.
Years after Caetano used his lawyerly skills to transform the Portuguese’s authoritarian regime, we now find this authoritarian type of system is now thrust upon all Australian journalists.
A prohibition now applies on all Australian journalist banning any reports on detention centres. This decision is a direct breach of international law.

International Declarations of Human Rights.

(art. 27) ss (ii) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

As Australia was a founding member of the UN and is a signatory, this law is ratified and the Commonwealth are bound by it. However, it being ignored by the Abbot Government.

The mandatory detention of asylum seekers carries little support from the general public and is abhorred by academics. It has been described as “a questionable policy’ by Anthony J. Reilly a Solicitor from South Brisbane Immigration and community legal service. ‘They are not criminals, nor are they charged with any offence,” he explains.

The Australian Government argue about the need to maintain tight policy as a deterrent to asylum seekers. Yet the numbers of asylum seekers risking life and limb to escape tyranny has seen no decrease.

Mr Reilly points out there is a real cost to the health of the detainees who end up traumatised from long periods of imprisonment.[2]

This can no longer be reported as those who are employed at the centre are bound by confidentiality.

Often other countries such as Timor Leste, will look closely to Australia and mirror laws to reflect our acceptance. This is harrowing news particularly with the current Australian Government interests in Manus Island and the fact an asylum seeker sits outside of the rule of law. [3]

This ban poses a threat to our democratic rights and freedom of speech.

More importantly it means that the atrocities the people in detention have escaped from, may also go unpunished under international law, as with the ban on journalists- the asylum seekers stories will remain untold.

[1]  A great place to begin




[5.] sitting outside the Rule of Law is a concept of Hannah Arendt please see for wonderful jurisprudential insights on this-
Other Sources I required for the article– Censorship of the Truth Down Under- is under handed




26/11 /14- saw the ban on Hong Kong journalists lifted








Leading Australian Media Lawyer Leanne O Donnell – calls out to the public: here she chose an example of philanthropy by the way of writing to Government officials in an urge to persist against detention centers. Oxfam offer tips on letter writing and she comments on her mum making weekly visits – as not giving up either

despite the government’s intransigence

11.)Tim Wilson-


Thanks for staying connected

Next we will look to the international framework and consider if it addresses appropriate responses to violence against children? What can the UN do and what impact does its actions have? What are the challenges and opportunities which lie ahead for the Australian Government…to be continued….


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