28 November, 2010


Chris Mitchell, the Editor in Chief of Rupert Murdoch's flagship newspaper in Australia The Australian, is threatening to sue me for defamation over tweets I posted from an academic conference of journalism educators held in Sydney last week.

He is using his newspaper to make these threats and he has repeated them to Crikey

The tweets I posted quoted one of Mitchell's former reporters, award winning rural and science journalist Asa Wahlquist, who delivered an address to a panel on the reporting of Climate Change at The Australian during the Journalism Education Association Australia conference on Thursday.

I was attending the conference at the University of Technology as a speaker, in my capacity as a University of Canberra (UC) journalism lecturer.

UC Vice Chancellor, Professor Stephen Parker, has provided the following statement on the issue:

“(I am) aware of the situation and (I am) concerned about the implications of it for freedom of academic expression. (I) continue to provide full support for academics providing responsible comment on matters of public interest such as this, which includes accurately summarising what experienced journalists have said about the workings of the nation’s media”

All I am personally permitted to say on the issue at this stage is the following: "My University has not received any communication from Mr Mitchell and I have been asked not to comment further on the detail of what transpired until we know what allegations are being made against me and the University and have had an opportunity to take legal advice.”

I continue to strongly value media freedom and freedom of expression.

The only other thing I can say publicly at this point is...thanks to all those who have offered well wishes and support. It is very much appreciated.

* Twitdef (abbreviated from 'Twitter Defamation') Is a Twitter hashtag established by a micro-blogger to aggregate some of the conversation on Twitter swirling around the issue

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[ *The opinions expressed by j-scribe reflect those of the author only and in no way represent the views of the University of Canberra ]