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Thursday, August 30, 2012

First they came for the journalists

Supporters of Finkelstein’s recommendations purport to be banner wavers for freedom of expression but in reality they are pitchfork wielding folk keen to square up against elements of the media for the thought crime of not reporting events in a manner that they agree with.
No one should be surprised that we are having this debate in 21st Century Australia and that extreme arguments like those extended by Steve Gibbons yesterday are finding their way into an eerie state of quasi-legitimacy. 
Our freedoms in this country are constantly under attack from governments – state and federal who live by the mantra of “if we don’t like it, we’ll criminalise it.”
Police now have “move along” laws in most states in the nation. An individual does not have to commit a crime, nor have created a reasonable suspicion of having done so. Yet, if police tell that person to move on and he or she does not that person can be arrested, charged and brought before the courts.
In one fell swoop, freedom of movement was overwhelmed.
There is legislation due before the NSW parliament seeking to amend the Evidence Act that fundamentally alters an individual’s right to silence when being interviewed by police.
The rights of freedom of association are already under siege with the NSW government revisiting the old consorting laws. 
The inevitable argument is that these amendments are necessary tools to fight increasingly sophisticated criminal enterprises. In the wake of 9/11 it was terrorists, now outlaw motorcycle gangs are the new threat, the melodrama villains essential to provide the justification for impinging on the civil liberties of all Australians.
Read the whole article
h/t Freedomwatch

As Burma ends media censorship, Australia considers media censorship