Australia’s media climate:Time to renegotiate control

Date of this Version


Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Details

Interim status: Citation only.

Johnston, Jane & Pearson, Mark (2008). Australia’s media climate: Time to renegotiate control. Pacific journalism review, 14(2), 72-88.

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2008 HERDC submission

© Copyright Australian Centre for Independent Journalism/Auckland University of Technology and Jane Johnston and Mark Pearson 2008


In 2007, Australia was rated by two international media bodies as well down the chain in media freedom. Within its own borders, internal media groups—in particular the Australian Press Council and the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, as well as a consortium of major employer groups—have recently released reports investigating the position of media freedoms. This article examines a select few of these shrinking freedoms which range from the passive restrictions on access to documents to the overt threat of imprisonment for publishing sensitive material. In particular, it considers laws relating to freedom of information, camera access to courts, shield laws and whistleblower protection and finally, revamped anti-terrorism laws. The article maps the landscape of Australia’s downgraded press freedom and suggests that laws controlling media reportage need to be renegotiated.

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This document has been peer reviewed.