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Breaking news: on the decline of press freedom and democracy

Why transparency is a bedrock of democracy
What does national security, data security and the changing face of legislation mean for free speech and our right to know? A reporter, satirist and political theorist examine the state of affairs.

Event details
Date and time:
 Monday 26 August, 6 – 7.30pm
Venue: Charles Perkins Centre Auditorium
The University of Sydney (Camperdown/Darlington Campus)
Entry: free and open to all with online registrations essential

Australia currently ranks 21st on the World Press Freedom ranking. The United Kingdom ranks 33rd, while the United States is 48th and China is 177th. On the other hand, Norway is 1st and New Zealand is 7th. What do these rankings mean, and why is it important that we care?

In light of recent police raids on the ABC and the home of a News Corporation reporter, and Australian Federal Police analysing private flight records of a journalist, we ask – what does a free press mean or look like? Is Australia in fact, as some claim, heading down an intrusive and authoritarian path?

Join us for a special Sydney Ideas event where the 2019 Chaser Lecture guest speaker, journalist Vicky Xiuzhong Xu; former Race Discrimination Commissioner, Professor Tim Soutphommasane; and The Chaser’s Julian Morrow, unpack these big questions.

The speakers

Vicky covers the intersection of Australian and Chinese politics for the New York Times in Australia. She also reports on the changing landscape for business, education, and religion in Australia’s immigrant communities. Before joining the newspaper, she was a producer for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Born and raised in China, she can often be found in front of a spicy hotpot or telling jokes on stage at a stand-up comedy night.

Tim is Professor of Practice (Sociology and Political Theory). He was Australia’s Race Discrimination Commissioner from 2013 to 2018. He is the author of five books about multiculturalism, national identity and race, including On Hate (Melbourne University Publishing).

Julian is a television writer and producer, comedian and media commentator. He is best known as a member and co-founder of the satirical media empire The Chaser. He also founded Giant Dwarf, a theatre venue and comedy company. He has made TV shows that include The Election Chaser, CNNNN, The Chaser's War on Everything, The Hamster Wheel and The Checkout

Event information

This event is free and open to all but online registration is essential.

Simply click the 'Register now' button or follow this link.

Entry to ticket holders will be prioritised and given on a first-in, best-dressed basis until the room reaches capacity. If an event is full, this may result in standing room or delayed admittance until an appropriate time.

We recommend early arrival to allow time for finding the venue and securing a seat to the event. Doors open 15 minutes before the advertised start time. 

If you could not register but would like to attend, you are welcome to join a stand-by queue on the night as seats may become available due to late cancellations. Please note, this is not guaranteed so you come at risk of non-admittance.

This venue provides infrared hearing system. You can take the lift down to Level B1 to reach the Auditorium Foyer. There are wheelchair spaces available for seating.

Access requirements

If you have other access requirements or want more information, get in touch with us on 9351 2943 or email sydney.ideas@sydney.edu.au with 'Access | August 26 – Chaser' in the subject line at the earliest opportunity to allow us time to organise for any additional services in time for the event.

Charles Perkins Centre Auditorium is on Level 1 of the building opposite Charles Perkins Centre Hub on John Hopkins Drive (next to Royal Prince Alfred Hospital), off Missenden Road.

You can also enter via the Ross Street entrance: the venue is next to the ovals.

Public transport

The closest bus stop is the University of Sydney Ross Street Gate, Parramatta Road (Opposite Glebe Officeworks). It is a five-minute walk to the venue. Use the University Campus Map tool to locate the bus stop. You can take the bus from Central Station (routes 412, 413, 436, 438, 440, 461, 480).

The venue is roughly a 30 minute walk from Redfern station.

There is some on-street parking around Forest Lodge and Glebe.

There is also paid parking available at Western Avenue Carpark. Head to the University's Parking page for more information about fees and opening hours.

Use the University Campus Maps tool to find out more details about parking and access areas: search for the 'Charles Perkins Centre'. 

Getting there

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