“Australia’s Right to Know”, a Sydney-based coalition of media companies, commissioned a report from Irene Moss, a former magistrate and New South Wales state ombudsman. According to a statment released on November 5th, Mrs Moss found 335 pieces of legislation with secrecy provisions. Thus, can it be true that press freedom, and indeed the freedom of information in Australia is increasingly becoming endangered by the growth of government secrecy.
Ms Moss claims that the burdens associated with freedom-of-information filings have begun to overwhelm many journalists. In one particular case, government officials demanded almost $13,000 for “decision-making time” related to the release of documents about climate change around the Great Barrier Reef.
Whilst I do not believe that we’re on the path to becoming like North Korea, it is nevertheless concerning to hear that bureaucracy and secrecy are taking hold of such a champion of democracy. Simon Turner