I appreciate Barry Hill’s contextualising of the defamation case against …

Comment on Alice Springs News defamation case needs to be put into context, says prominent author by Jennifer Taylor.

I appreciate Barry Hill’s contextualising of the defamation case against the AS News. I cannot claim an in-depth understanding of the rights and wrongs of the case or any possible rationale for the judgement and penalty imposed. What I do see is that this is a very heavy and seemingly disproportionate burden for a newspaper whose staff have, in my view, worked consistently and altruistically for what they see as the public good. Intelligent, challenging investigative journalism will inevitably offend some of the people some of the time, but it fulfills a vital role in our community and should be treasured, not oppressed. If contentious statements or plain mistakes are made we might say with Voltaire: “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”
I would like to express my deep appreciation for the vital role played by Alice Springs News Online staff in contributing to community cohesion and identity. To think well about who we are and who we might become as a town we need to hear multiple stories and perspectives. We need to see the unique and complex cultural life of our town reflected accurately and compassionately. We must keep asking the thorny questions and challenging the truisms. AS News is doing this work passionately and well, and in my view deserves commendation and backing.

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