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Naughty journo?

By jennybel75 - 23 September 2008 21

News.com.au is reporting reports that the house of a Canberra Press Gallery journalist was raided this morning in connection with an ongoing investigation about a story on Australia’s spying operations published by the Canberra Times earlier in the year. The journo apparently cited his source as “classified briefing papers” which had been prepared for the Defence Minister.

So, lets see what happens with the protecting sources debate again.

ED – And Mr. Evil had this to say:

    The Australian is reporting that a Canberra Times journalist’s home has been raided by the AFP, apparently in relation to a story published by the Canberra Times in June.

    No doubt the Canberra Times will be lapping up the publicity, and someone working at Parliament House will be feeling a little nervous!

Meanwhile the ABC names the journo as Philip Dorling and the CT have managed to post an AAP story on the subject.

UPDATED: The CT has now managed to get their own story up:

    The owners of The Canberra Times say they are “gravely concerned” over an “unacceptable” police raid on the Canberra home of one of its journalists this morning…

    “Fairfax Media is gravely concerned by this legal assault on one of our journalists for doing his job.

    “A Federal police raid on the home of a journalist cuts to the heart of the operation of a free press, and is unacceptable.

What’s Your opinion?


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21 Responses to
Naughty journo?
iCanberran 12:28 am 24 Sep 08

recondite said :

iCanberran, your comment is one of the least sensible I have ever seen on this site.

Are you seriously suggesting that “news” about a politician having an affair is more important, or somehow worthy of being reported – more in the public interest even, than news about a secretive organisation’s clandeestine activities that could have a major impact on australian trade partners.

and don’t even start on the muzzling of the press – something that should have ended with the Hward years. Rudd and Co. have been noticeably silent.

If a politician, an official we have elected, is acting in a manor unbecoming of their position, then I think it would be in the public interest for it to be reported, as it would if the politician is corrupt, making a planning decision secretly without community consultation that could have serious effects on residents and so on.

And regarding your comments recondite: “Are you seriously suggesting that “news” about a politician having an affair is more important, or somehow worthy of being reported – more in the public interest even, than news about a secretive organisation’s clandeestine activities that could have a major impact on australian trade partners.”

An elected official doing something not befitting the office is far more important yes. If a politician is snapped coming out a brothel, taking money from a developer or making secretive decisions that could harm the community, they are of public interest.

International intelligence? Why is that important?
Are you so naive that you think spying on trade partners is new. Oh gosh you must work for arts.
We keep tabs on our friends and foes and they keep tabs on us. Every Aussie embassy has intelligence people, as do foreign embassies on our soil.
It’s not James Bond stuff either. We’re not sneaking into foreign government officers wearing a Walter PPK and perfect hair cut, shooting up the place. A lot of it is signal interception, eavesdropping, receiving leaked information, using local contacts and providing backdoor communications. Stuff that allows us to predict strategic and political changes and respond to such changes.

And ask yourself, why did the reporter release this information? Seriously, why? Because he was concerned that such activities could endanger world peace? If so, why publicise it and what was his goal? For us to protest until ASIS and DSD are shut down. Oh please, he wrote it to sell papers.
He’s no different to that Defence official a couple of years ago who slept with the hooker while giving her defence secrets as payment. They both did it for personnel gain with no greater good.

bigfeet 10:56 pm 23 Sep 08

fhakk…. it’s not the journo that is the issue. This was a second rate article from a fourth rate newspaper.

But the fact that a security cleared government employee has seen fit to give the report out, either deliberately or through incompetence, is what needs to be investigated.

That person needs to no longer be in a position where they can get there hands on, and potentially disclose, other classified documents. Some of which could put lives at risk.

bigfeet 10:51 pm 23 Sep 08

Surely the warrant was issued by a member of the ACT judiciary?

Noone could accuse them of being too liberal with their decisions.

fhakk 10:48 pm 23 Sep 08

The way people are talking about the leaking of information makes journos look like socialist spies from North Korea.

I know full well that its illegal to view or possess documents like this, but the fact is that this is the Canberra Times and not an undercover operative from China.

I like to think there’s a difference.

captainwhorebags 10:42 pm 23 Sep 08

Oh, and would the Canberra Times please post guidelines on what they consider an “acceptable” police raid? Or perhaps the AFP should give the managing editor a call and ask for their blessing first…

captainwhorebags 10:39 pm 23 Sep 08

Well I don’t think the police generally say “we are starting the investigation now. Here’s Act 1”. It may have started very shortly after the fact and we’re only seeing certain public elements of it. Police execute search warrants all the time, I’d hazard a guess that journos are more likely to get on the phone to their mates for some publicity.

bigfeet 9:49 pm 23 Sep 08

Swaggie said :

CWB If the problem needs to be fixed and the story was printed back in June would it be worth wondering why it’s taken them so long to follow up on the Journo?

This is just a guess….but coppers don’t investigate things until someone actually makes a report. They don’t just do things out of the blue (I suppose except for murder?)

From what I hear about Kevin07 being a micromanager, maybe it has taken that long for him to make a decision that he would allow someone to report it?

Like I said, just a guess.

Swaggie 9:43 pm 23 Sep 08

CWB If the problem needs to be fixed and the story was printed back in June would it be worth wondering why it’s taken them so long to follow up on the Journo?

captainwhorebags 9:12 pm 23 Sep 08

What bigfeet said.

They’re not after the journo, they’re after the moron who thought it wise to take ministerial briefing papers and give them to the press. Or perhaps equally as grave, the ministerial staffer who accidentally misplaced sensitive documents. Either way, the problem needs to be fixed before a more serious breach of security occurs. Dorling is a starting point in finding the source.

circusmind 9:11 pm 23 Sep 08

bigfeet said :

Reporting on a politicians sex life is not in the public interest, but it makes news. Reporting on corruption or illegality by a government agency is in the public interest.

This is simply irresponsible sensationalism. This is this this organisations charter, what the government created it to do, and it only works if it is kept in the shadows. Every country does it. Every country knows every other country does it.

By making it public you are just asking for “major impact on australian trade partners” because then it has to be addressed.

But the issue is the leaking of the documents. And that needs to be investigated.

Exactly. This was not a “gotcha” piece of journalism. As far as I can remember, nothing particularly meaningful came out of the story. What exactly does this achieve? Just hindering our intelligence agencies…

bigfeet 8:48 pm 23 Sep 08

recondite said :

Are you seriously suggesting that “news” about a politician having an affair is more important, or somehow worthy of being reported -more in the public interest even, than news about a secretive organisation’s clandeestine activities that could have a major impact on australian trade partners..

Reporting on a politicians sex life is not in the public interest, but it makes news. Reporting on corruption or illegality by a government agency is in the public interest.

This is simply irresponsible sensationalism. This is this this organisations charter, what the government created it to do, and it only works if it is kept in the shadows. Every country does it. Every country knows every other country does it.

By making it public you are just asking for “major impact on australian trade partners” because then it has to be addressed.

But the issue is the leaking of the documents. And that needs to be investigated.

recondite 8:39 pm 23 Sep 08

iCanberran, your comment is one of the least sensible I have ever seen on this site.

Are you seriously suggesting that “news” about a politician having an affair is more important, or somehow worthy of being reported – more in the public interest even, than news about a secretive organisation’s clandeestine activities that could have a major impact on australian trade partners.

and don’t even start on the muzzling of the press – something that should have ended with the Hward years. Rudd and Co. have been noticeably silent.

bigfeet 7:57 pm 23 Sep 08

The issue is not the journo, or the article. The article itself is quite innocuous. I am sure that those countries mentioned know that we are looking at them, just as they are looking at us.

What the issue, and what I hope the focus of the AFP investigation is, that a person with a high security classification saw fit to give these documents to someone (either the journo or a third person who provided them to the journo)

This is not whistle-blowing, where the person has leaked information about criminal wrongdoing. A person with security clearance has decided for some reason, to disclose classified documents.

That person needs to be found and removed from their job before they leak something which does some real harm.

And a stint in prison wouldn’t hurt either

fhakk 7:34 pm 23 Sep 08

Oh rubbish, iCanberran. Have you even read the article in question?

I for one love the chance to see a rare insight into the dealings of a very murky organisation.

Phillip’s churned out some interesting stories over the past few months as well – China trying to seduce Kevin Rudd’s staffers, for one.

It’s also a wake-up call for a lot of journos out there, that the government has no qualms about using the AFP to stop itself become embarrassed like this.

iCanberran 6:46 pm 23 Sep 08

“Fairfax Media is gravely concerned by this legal assault on one of our journalists for doing his job.”

“A Federal police raid on the home of a journalist cuts to the heart of the operation of a free press, and is unacceptable.”

Freedom of the press is the freedom to report in the public interest. How is in the public interest to print a tabloid style (with flashy graphics and headlines) trivia about Australia’s foreign intelligence activities? If it were activities against Australian citizens, then it would be another story? But every country spies on every other country, friend or foe. Publishing details of this does nothing except to harm national security and endangers intelligence operatives. And for what? For money. To sell papers. It’s that simple.

This is not a journalist being targeted because he said a politician was doing the dirty on his wife or doing stuff under the table (taking bribes to be clear) or reporting on police infringing the rights of citizens to protest. His actions serve no purpose what so ever.

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