Glare of TV at Right to Know show

AUSTRALIA’S Right to Know group will host a national televised conference on the state of Australia’s freedom of speech.

The event, in Sydney on Tuesday 24th March, will bring together academics, lawyers, journalists, public servants, politicians and the public to examine Australia’s free speech problems and discuss the best solutions.

The conference will give a rare insight into the daily behind-the-scenes workings of both the journalists whose job it is to get the news and the officials charged with protecting information that could be harmful.

“It’s time to ramp up this vital issue with a mature debate about what kind of free speech we have and what kind of democracy we want,” said News Limited chairman and chief executive John Hartigan.

News Ltd Chairman and CEO John Hartigan

News Ltd Chairman and CEO John Hartigan

Confirmed speakers and panellists include:

• Justice Ronald Sackville AO, Supreme Court, keynote speaker • Senator John Faulkner, Special Minister of State in charge of reforming The Commonwealth’s Freedom of Information laws • Senator George Brandis SC, Shadow Attorney-General • ABC managing director Mark Scott, News Limited chairman and CEO John Hartigan, and other heads of Australia’s Right to Know • Australian Public Service Commissioner Lynelle BriggsArthur Sinodinos, Regional General Manager Business and Private Banking, NAB; Chief of Staff to former Prime Minister John Howard • Mark Dreyfus QC, MP, chair of the House of Representatives Legal & Constitutional Affairs Committee • Paul Whittaker, editor, and Paul Kelly, Editor-at-Large of The Australian • Laurie Oakes, Nine Network political commentator • Gail Hambly, Group General Counsel/Company Secretary, Fairfax Media • Chris Warren, Federal Secretary, Media Entertainment & Arts Alliance.

ABC Managing Director Mark Scott

ABC Managing Director Mark Scott

The conference will be broadcast live and in full by Australia’s Public Affairs Channel A-PAC (Foxtel/Austar channel 607), streamed at http://www.a-pac.tv and hosted by Helen Dalley of Sky News. Journalist Tony Jones of the ABC’s Lateline will moderate a special Q&A-style debate on Freedom of Information.

The conference will address such issues as:

– How much should governments tell us, and do we have a right to more?

– How restricted is the media’s day-to-day work, and should it change?

– The impact of mobile phones and the internet on privacy and free speech

– When should an individual’s private life make way for the public interest? – How should whistleblowers be handled when they expose wrongdoing?

Since its launch in May 2007, Australia’s Right to Know – a coalition of the nation’s 12 largest media organisations – has worked to raise awareness, lobby government and facilitate independent research into freedom of speech issues.

Event details:

Tuesday 24th March, 2009 Time: 8.30am to 5.30pm Location: Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, 61-101 Phillip Street, Sydney, NSW 2000.

Tickets: $250.

To register, visit: www.australiasrighttoknow.com.au

For conference information or to arrange interviews, contact Ben Rawling at Mark Communications (02) 9775 7015 / 0424 644 518 or ben@markcomms.com.au

For queries about the Right to Know Coalition, contact Lucinda Duckett at News Limited on 9288 3125 or duckettl@newsltd.com.au

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