Tim Blair


New Criterion



Wednesday, May 14, 2003
MORE ON DEFAMATION before old Biffer pulls the financial plug on that unnecessary irritation to the body politic, Media Watch.

Apart from claiming victory over Richard Carleton, Marr and the crew claimed that the law's vindication of Joe Gutnick's belief that he had been defamed was a dreadful threat to freedom of speech.

On the contrary, says reader Douglas:

No, Marr, the Gutnick ruling does not constitute overturning the presses freedom to publish and be dammned. It served another liberty, and a solid principle in common law, the freedom of one's name and reputation from those who capriciously seek to ruin it. One might contrast, to illustrate , the outrageous effort to permanently damage Hollingworth by, above all, the ALP, Tanner exploiting parlaimentary privilege to do so, and holding the [Victorian] Supreme Court in contempt in the process.

Quite so. The best interests of journalists and their employers are not the law's only concern.

We shouldn't expect that every citizen who is drawn into the public gaze should be as thick-skinned as a professional politician. Like Lindsay Tanner, for example.