By Li Qingqing Source: Global Times
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT
Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton warned on Sunday that if foreign journalists working in the country provide a “slanted view” of Australian affairs, they might come under the scrutiny of federal agencies, according to the Associated Press. A netizen on Twitter compared Dutton’s words to the “Ministry of Truth” in George Orwell’s novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
What is a “slanted view” anyway? All views have their specific positions. What Dutton said is a huge slap in the face of the West’s so-called democracy and press freedom. The essence of Western “press freedom” has been sadly reduced to extreme politicization.
Press freedom is only a concept in Australia, and it no longer exists in reality. The blatant wording in many Australian media’s news reports and opinion articles seem to be free. But in fact they are simply speaking for different interest groups, driven by political interests. Australia only accepts media outlets that meet the interests and requirements of particular political forces. Media that represents different views and ideologies have no freedom at all.
In June, Australian intelligence agency staff raided the homes of four Chinese journalists, questioning them for several hours and seizing their computers and mobile phones. These groundless searches are a serious political issue. Chinese journalists working in Australia strictly abide by laws and uphold professional ethics. Like other foreign journalists in Australia, they are committed to enhancing the understanding of Chinese and Australian people. However, Australian authorities have stifled normal bilateral exchanges. “Press freedom” has become a victim of Australia’s continued poisoning of its relations with other countries. It seems that what Dutton said was aimed at all foreign journalists.
And how does Australia treat its own journalists? In 2019, Australian police raided the headquarters of the country’s national broadcaster ABC, saying it had published classified information about Australian special forces’ alleged abuses in Afghanistan. Also, the Australian government has enacted more than 60 rules restricting press freedom over the past 20 years. Australia’s so-called mainstream media should also be careful of such political suppression.
Democracy, people’s livelihood and press freedom – some of the ideas that the West is proud of – have been openly abandoned by Australia and replaced by US styled McCarthyism and “white terror.” So-called “press freedom” has become a pawn manipulated by political cronies in Canberra. Is “press freedom” to smear other countries through media the issue? What kind of “free” country attacks press freedom from behind using the big stick of political suppression to destroy views that it hates?
“If people are here as journalists and they’re reporting fairly on the news, then that’s fine,” Dutton said. But the standard of “reporting fairly” is set by Australia’s biased position. The so-called infiltration is also nothing but a one-sided, groundless accusation. If news and other fields are gradually reduced to Australia’s political pawns, then the country will eventually be flooded with “white terror.”