Pacific Media Centre Pacific Media Watch Pacific Journalism Review Pacific Scoop

The Australian Parliament and press freedom in an international context

Volume 13, Issue 2

September, 2007

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Author(s): Camille Galvin, Mark Pearson

This article reports on a study using grounded theory methodology to track the contexts in which Australian parliamentarians used the expressions ‘press freedom’ and ‘freedom of the press’ over the ten years from 1994 to 2004. It uses Parliamentary Hansard records to identify the speeches in which discussions of press freedom arose. Interestingly, the terms were used by members of the House of Representatives or Senate in just 78 speeches out of more than 180,000 over that decade. Those usages have been coded to develop a theory about the interface between press freedom and the parliament. This article reports just one aspect of the findings from the larger study - the way parliamentarians have contrasted the value of press freedom in Australia with press freedom in other countries. It is one step towards building a broader theory of press freedom in the Australian parliamentary context