The Australian journalist Cassandra Wilkinson published a feature called “Hipsters should back free speech” in which Pedestrian (hey, that’s us!) has been compared to Australia’s most ridiculous politician, Bob Katter. Sad face.
Wilkinson writes, It’s an odd state of affairs when hip youth website Pedestrian is of one mind with Bob Katter about media regulation. Following The Daily Telegraph’s now notorious Stalin photoshop, the youth culture website ran an item on the proposals concluding archly, “So it’s just like the gulags, obviously.”
The article continues:
Any kind of censorship, be it of speech or the press or the internet should have quickly found an enemy among young people online. Censorship certainly should have found an enemy in the cultural sector. Perplexingly the coverage of the proposals to tighten regulation of the press have met largely with broad indifference from a youth and independent culture community we once associated with what Jesus (King James Bible) and Nick Cave called “kicking against the pricks”.
The arts community and the youth media outlets [such as Pedestrian] may not like the Telegraph or The Courier-Mail or Sky News but it’s disappointing they appear to have accepted the government’s line that the anti-censorship campaign is merely a defence of tabloid self interest. In one way it is, but this is the least of the ways in which the proposals matter.
When we defend the right to silence and a fair trial, both the guilty and the innocent benefit.
You can read the article Ms Wilkinson refers to here, where we wrote about the highly contentious media reform proposed by Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy and The Daily Telegraph‘s response to the reform proposal in which they compared Conroy to dictators Joseph Stalin, Chairman Mao, Fidel Castro and Robert Mugabe.
By insinuating Pedestrian is in any way an advocate of media regulation is a real knife-twist, not just for Pedestrian as an organisation that champions online social justice and freedom of speech whenever we can, but also as individuals who are passionately, actively opposed to censorship and information regulation, especially regarding the press. And needless to say, any comparison to Bob Katter that isn’t a comment on how shiny our platinum blond hair looks today really is the ultimate ignominy.
So let’s quickly clear this up.
In this article, the one that so concerned The Australian, we were NOT advocating Stephen Conroy’s media reform proposal. What we DO advocate is the open criticism of outrageous sensationalist journalism by a national media organisation – and when we do criticise The Daily Telegraph for one poor editorial choice or another, we do so without taking for granted how important it is that we can have a voice without having to comply to the demands of some regulatory body or media watchdog.
Now I’ll leave you with the part of Cassandra Wilkinson’s article where she says nice things about us. Because I can.
Good website + Bob Katter = Humble brag.