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Thursday
Jun062019

Government raids aren't about journalists, but about society

Forget ‘journalists’: the AFP raids are an attack on people who make life uncomfortable for the state; people who resist the desires of government and government bodies to keep their mistakes secret and avoid being held to account. Journalists might be “chilled” by these raids, but they are primarily the vector for attacks on whistle blowers – which is to say, attacks on ordinary people exposing the wrongdoing of those with power.

At some point in our lives, each of us will experience or witness wrongdoing from someone more powerful than us. Maybe it’s a capricious ticket inspector, maybe it’s just HR fucking up your pay. Hopefully, we’ll ‘blow the whistle’ on that behaviour so the wrong is corrected and the wrongdoer held to account. That’s an important element of a good society.

Every one of us should be prepared to expose wrongdoing. It’s not ‘dobbing’: it’s ‘calling people on their shit’.

To whom to we blow the whistles? Other people with power: the ticket inspector’s boss; the HR director; et cetera. This is why the AFP raids and other whistle-blower prosecutions are so damaging: they come _from_ people with power.

If our highest authorities resist being held accountable – by punishing those who expose their wrongdoing – that diminishes society.

So forget journalists. As @GordyPls said last night, they were warned, again and again, and (by and large) focused on protecting their own rights, not those of the citizenry broadly. Fighting for journalists is only worth anything if it means fighting for us all.

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