JERAA attends Press Freedom Roundtable

By ALEX WAKE, JERAA PRESIDENT

 

JERAA recently attended a Press Freedom Roundtable organised by the Attorney General in Canberra.

President Alex Wake reported that Attorney General Mark Dreyfus seems genuine in his desire to improve press freedom in Australia, and is committed to, at a minimum, implementing the recommendations made by the bi-partisan committee report to the last parliament. He really wants to protect journalists doing their jobs.

Dreyfus said he never wanted to see another raid like that conducted on the home of Annika Smethurst again.

The meeting was held under Chatham House rules but much of the discussion was around the review of the privacy act, defamation laws and more responsive FOI provisions.

The Right to Know Coalition (NewsCorp, ABC) had agreed talking points in advance but there was some genuine discussion and agreement about the big issues, although perhaps not on the solutions.

Dreyfus acknowledged that it was impossibly difficult to define who is a journalist, and references were made to the Queensland and Victorian laws that do actually give some definition to the role.

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