Monday, October 22, 2007

The 'Great' debate - free speech and public accountability curtailed by Howard

All the commentators are out, dissecting the relative merits of the Rudd V Howard debate. Rudd was all over Howard like a rash on just about every criterion. Those who have called it 'close' must still be either in thrall to Howard or beholden to the Coalition for something, or have spent so long toadying up to right-wing power brokers over the last decade, they just can't seem to break the habit.

The real concern is the extraordinary compliance of the ABC and the National Press Club in accepting the 'rules of engagement' laid down by the Coalition, and, then, cutting the feed to Ch 9 when they refused to bow to 'wormacide'. Freedom of the press has been under threat on Howard's watch for a raft of reasons. This is just the latest offering from this hubris soaked bunch of bullies who don't like scrutiny and who play the man whenever they come under fire.

This country so needs to be rid of them it has become one of those 'rubicon' moments. We cannot afford to continue to allow our country to be hijacked by ideological extremists, taking Australia in a direction counter to our national interest.

Hey journos, you might find it redemptive to stop dilly dallying at the edges and start focussing on the actual consqeuences of the Howard experiment for press freedoms, the rule of law and human rights. The constant focus on macro economic nuances (none of which are much altered by either party in government) at the expense of fundamental concerns for civil freedoms, social equity and community cohesion does little credit to the fourth estate.

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