Governments should keep their mitts off the media, according to Laurie Oakes. Oakes, arguably Australian’s most eminent political correspondent, told the annual Press Freedom Day dinner in Sydney the Australian government had not produced compelling reasons for legislating new media controls.
“All governments lie” according to the founder of modern investigative journalism, IF Stone.
Stone had a lot in common with Wikileaks‘ Julian Assange.
In the Fifties, “Izzy” Stone broke free from mainstream press compliance with, and reliance on, systematic spin. He created his own files, cross referencing and contextualising what governments said, to help reveal what they actually did. He published the results in his own newspaper, IF Stone’s Weekly.
Wikileaks does much the same thing today assisted by the speed of computers and the reach of the internet. In both cases, these media dissidents interrogated governments’ own sources. And in both cases, this revelation of otherwise hidden government activities was claimed to be a threat to national security. Stone was branded as a communist, a fifties smear as potent as the attempt to convict Julian Assange as a gender criminal (a much more contemporary offence).