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Anti-Terror Laws Forum Set-Up

NSW Writers’ Centre organises forum on new anti-terror laws in Australia

Sydney: Writers, journalists, publishers are deeply concerned about impact of the Federal Government’s anti-terror legislation on free speech in Australia. In particular the strengthening of the sedition laws could have a draconian impact on commentary by journalists, writers and filmmakers about government policies in Australia.

Australia's largest news organizations, Fairfax and News Ltd, released a statement in which they said: "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.

Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission president John Von Doussa says the proposed counter-terrorism laws are the first step towards a police state.

To discuss and debate the issue, New South Wales (NSW) Writers’ Centre is organising a forum. The topic of the forum is “The impact of the new terror laws on Writers, Journalists and Publishers”. This will be held on Tuesday the 29th of November from 6.00pm to 8.00pm at New South Wales Writers’ Centre.

The speakers of this forum are:

LAWRENCE GIBBONS - He is the CEO of the Alternative Media Group Editor and publisher of The Sydney City Hub, independent progressive news weekly. He has worked for the San Francisco Bay Guardian and other alternative publications in New York, Toronto and Honolulu.

SYED ATIQ UL HASSAN - He is a senior journalist, a media writer and an active community worker representing the South Asian community in Australia. He founded and is editor-in-chief of Tribune International, the first multicultural English (ethnic) newspaper in Australia.

JACK HERMAN - He is an Executive Secretary of the Australian Press Council, the body that deals with complaints about the Australian print media and acts to maintain the traditional freedom of the press enjoyed by Australians.

PETER MANNING – He is an adjunct professor of journalism at the University of Technology, Sydney, and a former head of news and current affairs at both the ABC and the Seven network.

CHRIS NASH – He is the Director of the Australian Centre for Independent Journalism, Associate Professor in the UTS Faculty of Humanities’ Journalism Program and a Walkley Award winner.

ROBERT PULLAN – He is a freelance Sydney writer whose books include Guilty Secrets (Pascal Press 1994) and Four Corners: 25 Years (ABC Books 1986). He is writing The Press Gang, a history of the Australian press and is on the Management Committee of the Australian Society of Authors.

NICK PARSONS – He is a Chairman of Currency Press, the performing-arts publisher, and a writer and director in film, television and theatre.

To attend this forum and for further inquiries please contact Irina Dunn, the Executive Director, E-mail: nswwc@nswwriterscentre.org.au

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