“An awful crime. The person is guilty. You may have read the news online already. Yet we can’t publish it. But trust us… It’s the Nation’s Biggest Story” (The Daily Telegraph, December 2018). Many Australians are surprised at court decisions that are kept out of the media due to suppression laws and non-publication orders, most recently with the cases concerning Cardinal George Pell and former criminal lawyer Nicola Gobbo (Lawyer X). How does the law and journalism navigate the public’s right to know with defendants’ and victims’ right to a fair trial? Do suppression laws risk becoming a weapon against a free press, and what reform is necessary in our globally connected era? Journalists Richard Ackland, Kate McClymont and Steve Pennells talk to Claire Harvey about suppression, secrecy, censorship and the news.
Presented in partnership with The Walkley Foundation for Journalism.
Kate McClymont (Australian)
Kate McClymont is an investigative journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald. She is a seven-time winner of journalism’s most prestigious award, the Walkley, including the Gold Walkley. She was named the 2012 NSW Journalist of the Year for her investigations into the fraudulent activities of Michael Williamson, the Head of the Health Services Union and the business activities of former NSW Labor minister, Eddie Obeid. In 2017 she was inducted in the Media Hall of Fame for her contribution to the industry.
Steve Pennells (Australian)
Steve Pennells is a five-time Walkley Award-winning investigative journalist and Chief Writer for The West Australian. Although based in Sydney, Steve has a roving brief which has taken him to war zones and disaster areas including Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, China, Europe, the US and South-East Asia. He is also an investigative reporter with Seven's flagship news and current affairs show, Sunday Night. In 2012, he received Australia’s highest journalism honour – the Gold Walkley Award – for his stories from the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan and reports on Gina Rinehart’s battle with her children, an investigation which also saw him embroiled in a lengthy legal battle with the mining magnate.
Richard Ackland (Australian)
Richard Ackland publishes the law journals Justinian and Gazette of Law & Journalism. He is a columnist and legal affairs editor for The Saturday Paper and writes for Guardian Australia. He previously hosted Media Watch, RN's Breakfast program and Late Night Live. He previously worked for the Australian Financial Review. Along with Deborah Richards and Anne Connolly, he won the 1999 Gold Walkley for exposing the cash for comment arrangements between commercial radio and the banks.
Claire Harvey (Australian)
Claire Harvey is deputy editor of The Sunday Telegraph, Australia’s biggest-selling newspaper, where she also writes a column. Claire started her career at The Australian in 1994 and worked there for a decade, covering various rounds, including politics, and spending three years as New Zealand correspondent, from where she also covered the Pacific Islands. She then worked for two years as a senior writer and columnist at The New Zealand Herald. In 2008 she returned to Australia as senior writer and columnist at The Sunday Telegraph, before becoming deputy editor in 2012. She is the current deputy chair of the Walkley Judging Board.