Tony Jones: “Can you approve in that context the killing of American, British or Australian troops who are in the occupying forces?”
John Pilger: “Well yes, they're legitimate targets. They're illegally occupying a country.”
On your own independent legal advice, the new anti-terror laws would (rightly) deem such an interview as seditious:
“In our view it would be open to construe Pilger’s words as urging or inviting any person to engage in the conduct of the forceful elimination of Australian troops and their defeat in Iraq. There would certainly be an arguable case sufficient to place the evidence and surrounding circumstances before a jury.”
Nevertheless, Lateline is content to give Pilger an uncontested platform (and then Media Watch staunchly comes to his defence when Foreign Minister Downer criticizes the ABC for airing it!). I understand that Lateline, Media Watch and the ABC’s producers have an agenda to promote, and that this agenda is in line with Pilger’s comments. My issue with Media Watch (today) however, is not with your agenda per se but rather your hypocrisy.
You seemed somewhat impatient to defend Pilger’s opinions and his right to voice them, but then last night in a story bashing radio presenter Bob Francis and his criticism of the judicial system you demand he apologize, be silenced and even locked up!
Bob Francis: “They’re even thinking about bail, the judge. The judge saying to "let him into the community without a psychiatric examination would be irresponsible". Irresponsible! Oh, smash the judge’s face in!”
Liz Jackson: “Threatening physical violence against a judicial officer is a serious criminal offence, and canvassing views about the guilt of people still before the courts can be contempt.”
I agree, threatening a judicial officer with violence is a serious criminal offence- but so is treason! Pilger wants Australian troops slaughtered in Iraq and you announce him a hero. Francis uses a colloquial expression and you want him locked up? My question then is: is free speech only to be defended when Media Watch agrees with the opinion voiced? Why are right wing opinions so less valued then left wing rhetoric?