The nation’s wealthy and powerful often used threats to put the frighteners on journalists, according to investigative reporter, Kate McClymont.
At this point I marched over to old bullet-head who was waiting to go through the court’s security system ‘‘How dare threaten my photographer!’’ I snapped. Of course he denied that he had done anything such thing.
I said, ‘‘Well, there are plenty of witnesses who heard you threaten him.’’‘‘Listen, you stinking ugly old hag why don’t you piss off!’’ he snarled.I was momentarily speechless. ‘‘Ugly, old hag’’ – well I may have seen better days – but the horrid suggestion of Stinking!
Even then, with the bottom line to consider, the possibility a multi-million dollar law suit means press freedom has to dance a sorry jig with fiscal realities. For smaller companies, freelancers and bloggers – freedom of the press is a wonderful concept but the prospect of personally funding a court action against the coffers of a business tycoon is not realistic.
For Pennells it’s been an intimidating and exhausting battle which has already been going for 14 months and shows no sign of abating. Rineharts’s actions against Pennells and Ferguson will be back in court in Perth on Tuesday.Litigation can have the unfortunate effect of making other media players gun-shy. Journalists and their bosses become wary of ‘‘litigious’’ people and are often reluctant to take them on.
- Rinehart subpoenas another journalist (bigpondnews.com)
- MEAA calls for uniform shield laws to protect journalists (mumbrella.com.au)