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The Forum > Article Comments > Leaking in the public interest > Comments

Leaking in the public interest : Comments

By Brian Martin, published 16/2/2015

Recently, the government's antipathy towards leaking in the public interest has reached new heights, with laws that could put whistleblowers and journalists in prison for years.

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Ah yes, leaking in the public interest?

Leaking must be measured and moderated against national security, and any possible unintended collateral damage.

Therefore, it just can't be full speed ahead and to hell with the consequences; but particularly for others, their friends or families.

And just to get things into perspective, how does our press freedoms measure up against those of Russia, Egypt or ISIS i.e?

I believe there is a place for new laws that completely hamstring any potential or intending fifth column; and can be moderated by a long overdue bill of rights, which must guarantee free speech, and freedom of the press to print what they can prove beyond a reasonable doubt!

Those enhanced rights must also include the right to privacy, and automatic copyright over your printed or otherwise reproduced image!

Unless overturned by a legitimate court order; or admissible as evidence of a crime; always providing they're suppressed until after any relevant court hearing/judgement!

The right to know cannot and should not include any invasion of personal privacy; or ghoulish ambulance chasing curiosity, not condoned by a supporting court order.

And ordinary citizens should have automatic right to take a skeet gun to a drone, if safe to do so; where such a drone, may be violating their automatic right to privacy!

Remember always, that Princess Diana was hounded to her death by money hungry media curiosity, merely masquerading as the public right to know!

What people get up to in their private circumstances should remain inviolable, regardless of their so called privilege or wealth!

And to our eternal shame, we do need laws/reciprocity, that prevent offshore media outlets, from publishing that which is impossible to do in the home country, due to impending court action, or national privacy laws!

And those who would hold others up for moral introspection/examination, should have an exemplary moral code and above reproach behavior of their own!

Let not those with an even bigger sty in their eye be pointing a judgmental finger at smaller sty in the eye of all others; just for extremely shallow commercial reasons!
Posted by Rhrosty, Monday, 16 February 2015 11:14:13 AM
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A comprehensive article on whistleblowing. I also recommend reading the links as the article and the book are invaluable (and free). As a former whistleblower, I believe that it would have been a much smoother road to travel if 'leaking' had been an option back then.
I love the final sentence BTW!
Posted by Mags Love, Tuesday, 17 February 2015 6:39:26 AM
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Recently British Prime Minister David Cameron was quoted as saying that non violent extremism is just as dangerous as ISIL. Surely in that sentiment he would have included western right wing political extremism as well? I'm old enough to remember the abhorrence of the thought that the then USSR tapped everybody's communication! Diabolical!
What do we have in the western world today? Extreme socialism is called communism. What do you call extreme capitalism? Fascism? When Greenspan was the economic advisor to the president of the USA he stated that democracy is the natural enemy of a true free market economy.
Surely extremism is extremism regardless and should be guarded against. As Confucius said better to take the middle road.
Posted by JustGiveMeALLTheFacts, Tuesday, 24 February 2015 11:03:07 AM
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If you must leak, absolutely leak anonymously.

But whistleblowing seldom fixes the problem (only about 10% of the time), and if the whistleblower is tracked down, they face tremendous penalties. Sure, with proper precautions being tracked down is unlikely, though Phil Dorling wrote a chilling story about them trying.

Also, why should the whistleblower take the risk for an ungrateful public? (The public benefit from whistleblowers like Allan Kessing, Mick Skrijel and Toni Hoffman, but won't lift a finger to help them.)

Lone people who take on the machine rarely survive. Those (for want of a better word) dissidents in Australia who have been most successful are the ones that formed groups.

I'd suggest attacking the problem at its cause by forming groups, e.g. citizen organisations to represent the rights of citizens, protect its members as a group, and advocate for change by fostering public debate; a function the Australian press has manifestly failed (google "debunking dreyfus").

Those groups don't need to be political parties - it can be better if they're not. Overseas some groups have made great gains because politicial parties learn those groups can make or break them at the ballot box. Groups that get too close to political parties are taken for granted and lose the respect of the public.

We live in a democracy, so the only way to change the system is to get elected and write new laws. So form a new politicial party, so apathetic voters have a choice.

In doing so, realise that mobs are persuaded by self-interest and gut intution rather than appeals to "the greater good" or logic. The major parties know that, and it's why between them they keep winning elections.
Posted by Brendan Jones, Sunday, 1 March 2015 6:14:28 PM
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