Government jumps the shark with inquiry into Q&A
MEAA condemns the Prime Minister’s announcement today that “there is going to be an urgent government inquiry into the ABC” following the appearance of Zaky Mallah on Q&A last Monday night and the regular rebroadcasting of the program yesterday.
MEAA notes that the Prime Minister is concerned that the ABC gave “a platform to this convicted criminal and terrorist sympathiser”. MEAA also notes that Mallah has been interviewed in several Australian newspapers over the past 18 months and that on Tuesday night, following his brief appearance on Q&A Mallah appeared in an extensive interview on the Ten Network’s program The Project.
MEAA CEO Paul Murphy said: “In the past year the Government has attacked press freedom, the freedom of access to information and freedom of expression through its amendments to Australia’s national security laws. MEAA and other media organisations have repeatedly complained about these assaults on the Australian public’s right to know. Journalists face prison terms of up to 10 years for doing their job and will have their metadata trawled through in order identify their sources.
"Now the Government is at it again with this inquiry over an incident for which the ABC has already apologised and launched its own investigation into. Clearly the Government is seeking to directly influence editorial decisions at the national broadcaster.
“The Prime Minister has even pre-empted the outcome of the inquiry by distastefully insisting: ‘Heads should roll over this’. He should withdraw this threat and the proposed inquiry.” Murphy said.