As if NSW Premier Iemma heavying the media wasn’t bad enough, the WA Premier’s office have sent the police to lock down and search a News Ltd. newsroom (watch the raid: video) to find the source of a leak about government policy on spending taxpayer money to get re-elected:
May 2, 2008
FAIRFAX MEDIA has joined a growing chorus of condemnation of the West Australian Government over police raids on a Perth newspaper, seen as an attack on free speech.
The department of the Premier, Alan Carpenter, a former journalist, yesterday admitted it made a complaint that led to the raid by 16 officers on the Perth newsroom of News Ltd’s Sunday Times on Wednesday.
The officers were trying to find out what “government sources” leaked information about a $16 million ad bill for taxpayers to help get the Government re-elected. Exits at the building were blocked and staff leaving had their bags searched.
The February article by Paul Lampathakis said the Treasurer, Eric Ripper, as head of the cabinet communication sub-committee, “urgently” asked the expenditure review committee for $5.25 million for the first half of the year and a further $10.75 million to July next year.
The paper’s editor, Sam Weir, and the journalists’ union, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, said the raid attacked free speech.
The corporate affairs director of Fairfax Media, Bruce Wolpe, yesterday urged respect for press freedom in WA. “That story was a bread-and-butter government expenditure story. Now, to try and intimidate the press by bringing the police into newsrooms to ferret out a whistleblower, who deserves protection and not prosecution, is the stronger priority here.”
So, exactly what law were the WA Police sent to enforce?
If government can send in the cops to media operations when they don’t like the news, they may as well be taking counsel on press relations from Robert Mugabe. Too bad the WA Premier can’t have Lampathakis deported.
This is plain old ordinary fascism- and must not go unchallenged.
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