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Freedom of speech versus protecting a person’s reputation up for discussion in Queensland

The ABC’s Katherine Gregory reports (6.10.16) on a two-day public forum being held in Brisbane by the state’s corruption watchdog, the CCC. Up for discussion at the forum will be potential changes to rules around publicising whistleblower complaints of possibly corrupt behaviour, with media groups and others critical of moves seen as denting accountability.

‘Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission is investigating whether allegations of corruption against individuals should be made public, while the media says such reporting holds governments accountable.

‘Media groups say publicity is central to free speech, while other bodies say it tarnishes individuals’ reputations and distorts legal trials.

‘The issue will be discussed by Queensland’s media and legal bodies at a public forum today run by the state’s corruption watchdog.

‘Alan MacSporran, the head of Queensland’s Crime and Corruption Commission, said the hope of the forum was for a resolution to the debate over whether publicising corruption allegations was in the public interest.

‘ … The commission released a discussion paper in June saying publicising allegations of corruption could undermine its function, damage individuals’ reputations and compromise a fair trial. But it also said it wanted to preserve free speech.

‘Mr MacSporran said the commission had no set view on the solution, but suggested allegations should be brought to it first before going to the media.’

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