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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.

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.

This event was presented in partnership with The Chaser Lecture and held on Monday 26 August, 2019 at the University of Sydney.

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

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