“Leading Australian artists and journalists are banding together to fight new anti-terrorism measures proposed by their government.
They say proposed new sedition provisions will infringe freedom of speech and that provisions for ‘preventive detention’ could be abused.
Australian Prime Minister John Howard urges swift passage of anti-terrorism bill.
Urging disaffection against the government and urging disaffection against the sovereign could be seen as sedition under some interpretations of the draft law.
Australia’s largest news organizations, Fairfax and News Ltd., are teaming up to lobby the federal government over the bill.
‘The expansion of the sedition laws contemplated in this bill is the greatest threat to publication imposed by the government in the history of the Commonwealth,’ they wrote in a statement addressed to Prime Minister John Howard.
State and territorial governments have expressed support in principle for the proposed anti-terrorism law. Howard backed the bill as necessary in a time of international instability.
Journalists, playwrights, documentary filmmakers, political cartoonists and others who might lampoon the government or question what it does fear the proposed sedition provisions.
‘My feeling is that the arts have always existed at an arm’s length to government in order”