Closure, Caution and the Question of Chilling: How Have Australian Counter-Terrorism Laws Affected the Media?

Media & Arts Law Review, Vol. 14, pp. 1-30, 2009

33 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2009  

Lawrence McNamara

University of Reading - School of Law

Abstract

Australian media organisations have expressed great concern that counter-terrorism laws restrict the ability of the media to report on matters related to terrorism and security. This article considers that proposition. It begins by examining the potential effects of these laws on the media's ability to access and publish information about terrorism offences. It then presents the findings of a project that explores the actual effects of the laws. Based on interviews with Australian journalists, media lawyers and criminal lawyers, the research set out to establish what is happening on the ground when the media are reporting on terrorism. It argues that counter-terrorism laws have had substantial direct effects on court reporting and, while it cannot yet be said that there is a chilling effect, a very worrying range of issues remains and the laws have indirect effects on the media which are detrimental and complex.

Keywords: media law, terrorism, free speech, journalism

Suggested Citation

McNamara, Lawrence, Closure, Caution and the Question of Chilling: How Have Australian Counter-Terrorism Laws Affected the Media?. Media & Arts Law Review, Vol. 14, pp. 1-30, 2009. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1371328

Lawrence McNamara (Contact Author)

University of Reading - School of Law ( email )

Reading, RG6 6AH
United Kingdom

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