Alliance Supports Calls for Greater Journalist Safety
Friday, 23 March 2007
The Alliance has written to the Prime Minister in support of calls from News Ltd and Fairfax for larger diplomatic aircraft to accommodate journalists covering diplomatic visits, following the tragic Yogyakarta plane crash earlier this month. Journalist Morgan Mellish and DFAT embassy spokeswoman Liz O'Neill lost their lives, and Cynthia Banham, also a journalist, was horrifically injured when their aircraft went down. The trio were covering the diplomatic visit of Foreign Minister Alexander Downer.
?Coverage of ministerial visits is, without question, a vital part of the democratic process, connecting the public to the actions of their government. The attendance of the media is inextricably tied to the effectiveness and purpose of such visits,? says Alliance Federal Secretary Chris Warren. ?However, the government cannot expect journalists to follow ministerial movements where there is a real risk to their safety. It is critical, in the interests of personal safety, and indeed the broader public interest, that the media be afforded basic safe travel.? Read the letter here.