Friday, August 1, 2014

Aussie Media Gag

On July 30, 2014, whistleblower website Wikileaks released an unprecedented Australian censorship order on the media from explicitly naming present and past government officials (and their relatives) in Malaysia, Indonesia and Vietnam in connection with a multi-million dollar corruption case there.
The case involves two subsidiary companies of Australia’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of Australia, i.e. Securency and Note Printing Australia that were alleged to have bribed important personalities in the three countries from 1999 to 2004 to secure contracts for the supply of polymer bank notes.
The prohibition emerged from a criminal case in the Australian courts and applies throughout the country. It was issued by the criminal division of the supreme court of Victoria in Melbourne "to prevent damage to Australia's international relations that may be caused by the publication of material that may damage the reputations of specified individuals who are not the subject of charges in these proceedings".
This Australia-wide court-issued gag order followed the secret indictment of seven senior executives from the said subsidiaries on June 19. It is really a superinjunction, which means it also contains a clause insisting that the terms of the order itself should remain secret.

The suppression order protects our beloved Malaysian prime ministers, present and past, i.e. Prime Minister Najib Razak and his two predecessors Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Mahathir Mohamad (above pic).
Also on the media blackout list are former finance minister Daim Zainuddin, former international trade and industry minister Rafidah Aziz and former foreign affairs minister Syed Hamid Albar, and not forgetting a sister–in-law of Abdullah, who is identified only as Noni. (The list also identifies ten other individuals).
Gee-whiz! Australia is afraid of embarrassing Malaysia! It shouldn’t – these Malaysians do not have any sense of guilt. Or shame. You and I know they will just vigorously deny everything and that will be the end of the story!
Shouldn’t it be in the public interest for the press to be able to report freely on this case? This restraining order is having the effect of downplaying a high-level corruption case in Australia and the ASEAN region.
Malaysians know how corrupt our government is. Now we know Australians are not as clean as they would like the rest of us to believe! And worse, their press has to be muzzled. Australia’s so-called free media is not so free after all!

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