19 April 2010

ABC Media Watch segment on press access to military

Tonight ABC's Media Watch had a segment titled "Media Access and Afghanistan." The transcript can be retrieved here. It is an interesting piece concerning the lack of freedom of information coming from the Australian Defence Force when Australian media places Freedom of Information Act requests and the limited access given to Aussie journalists.

Whilst I found the segment interesting, I must state that my experience in FOIA shows that the ADF responds much more quicker and tends to release more information than America's Department of Defense. (Perhaps this has changed under the Obama administration as I did many FOIA requests during the G W Bush administration, which were routinely denied by claims of an exemption or languished for months with no response until a FOIA lawsuit was filed.) Though it would seem, that American journalists are given more access to troops versus Aussie journalists in instances concerning embedding reporters with troops in the theatre of conflict in Afgahnistan.

Minister for Defence Senator John Faulkner (ALP-NSW) recently gave an address at the National Press Club in Canberra concerning media access. Senator Faulkner's speech can be found here.

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