The Australian Tribune leads the charge for freedom of the press and freedom of speech.
However, both freedoms should come with a handy ‘user’s guide’. You are free to speak your mind, but not to yell ‘Bomb!’ in an airplane, for example.
And as it has been seen with aggressive paparazzi around the world, some limits can and should be placed on journalists.
When journalists abandon any pretence of respect and manners, especially while interviewing world leaders, they should be at risk of being shown the door.
CNN’s Jim Acosta comes to mind.
CNN files a lawsuit against Trump administration
We wonder how the left-wing media would have responded if he’d treated Queen Elizabeth in the same manner as he did US President Donald Trump. We suspect, they would be outraged.
Nonetheless, CNN has filed a rather dubious lawsuit against the Trump administration over the revocation of press credentials for Acosta, their White House correspondent, whose questions and reporting have been a frequent target of criticism by the Republican president.
Mr Trump erupted into anger last week during a news conference when Acosta questioned him about the so-called migrant caravan travelling through Mexico, and regarding an ongoing investigation into the Russian interference with the 2016 presidential election.
‘That’s enough, that’s enough,’ Trump said as a White House intern attempted to take the microphone off Acosta. ‘You are a rude, terrible person.’
Trump has steadily intensified his criticism of the media, with CNN remaining a major target.
Who is in the wrong?
The White House suspended his credentials later that day, with press secretary Sarah Sanders accusing Acosta of putting his hands on her whilst trying to take the microphone away from him. She called his behaviour ‘absolutely unacceptable.’
According to RAW, video footage of the encounter showed Acosta pulling away, but never once placing his hands on the intern as she attempted to claw away the microphone.
‘We have asked this court for an immediate restraining order requiring the pass be returned to Jim, and will seek permanent relief as part of this process,’ CNN said in a statement on Tuesday.
‘While the suit is specific to CNN and Acosta, this could have happened to anyone,’ CNN said.
‘If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials.’
There are strong arguments on both sides of the story. On one hand, we need gusty journalists asking and challenging the actions of world leaders. That right needs to be respected and not snuffed out purely on the basis of disagreement. But equally, respect from interviewers needs to be reinforced, and limits need to be put firmly in place in order for us all to get the answers we deserve.
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