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Name: Antony Loewenstein
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Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Ordered around

The Queen's Birthday Honours List. The best excuse to become a republic. And soon. Despite the archaic honours, this year sees a handful of worthy winners. Phillip Knightley is one of this country's finest journalistic exports. He made his name working on the London Times from the early 1960s, before the days of Rupert Murdoch. Knightley has been a supporter of my work and an early proponent of my current book on Israel/Palestine.

I interviewed him last year. He is a fierce critic of much contemporary journalism. One of his biggest complaints is the increasingly cosy relationship between journalists and politicians:

"The Canberra press gallery has too incestuous a relationship with politicians. Any journalist who makes too big a wave runs the risk of being cut off the loop. The only person who would take a major risk is someone who is not afraid of losing their job or access. The clever press officer working for departments, often to their shame, ex-journalists, have ways of rewarding journalists who come along and punishing those who don’t."

He likes reading Margo Kingston, Alan Ramsey and Paul Kelly.

Another Order of Australia is Stuart Rees, founder of the Sydney Peace Prize. I got to know Rees during the Hanan Ashrawi affair in 2003. He defended the Palestinian advocate proudly.

I'm sure both men are thrilled with this regal honour.


Blogger Flute said...

You only do your job well when you are not afraid of losing your job.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 3:15:00 pm  
Anonymous michael said...

No comment on Kingston, Ramsey or Kelly - except to say that none of those names conjure courage or journalistic integrity for me.

Not sure why Knightley left out Ramsey's missus though. Laura Tingle is the only Aus corporate political reporter I can be bothered reading these days.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 3:24:00 pm  
Blogger Antony Loewenstein said...

Tingle is indeed often a good read. Knightley mentioned many others journos. I wouldn't necessarily agree with many on the list, but he commented on the real lack of independent voices in Oz.
As for taking risks, some of the great whistleblowers and indeed leakers have risked more than just their job. Look at Andrew Wilkie, for example.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 3:31:00 pm  
Blogger Brownie said...

Mr Blaxland Merlot 2003 is helping me with my enquiries tonight.
I nominated a person for a gong and they got it. I feel good. they deserved it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005 7:18:00 pm  
Anonymous Poopoo said...

An amazing list it was too.
My problem is figuring which are real and which are for 'Services Rendered'. Always an interesting exercise with GovCo rewards points schemes.

Take Farmer, f'instance.
Is the gong a reward for past efforts,(Nooo, they didn't ask for asylum, and they looked to be swimming ok)
present efforts (Cornelia Vivien Who?)
future efforts (see, a nice house for the kiddies just next door to the jail without end,) when Senate Estimates or perhaps a Royal Commissioner (how bloody apt) really does apply the torch to his arse?

Incidentally I take HUGE exceptiopn for any actor winning an award outside of their own industry for being an actor.
Because they're bloody actors, that's why!

Thursday, June 16, 2005 2:36:00 am  

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