Firefighters carry an injured man on a stretcher in front of the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris
Firefighters carry an injured man on a stretcher in front of the offices of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris

Could we see terror attack on Australian journalists?

COULD we see an attack in this country on a news organisation on the scale of the French tragedy?

Based on the mayhem in Martin Pl in Sydney before Christmas, it is not beyond the realms of possibility - as scary as that is to say. The most recent reports certainly suggested Channel 7, not the Lindt Cafe, was the original target of the gunman.

Australasian journalism, of course, has been nowhere near as provocative as the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo with its depictions of the Prophet Mohammed.

However, we do things regularly that fire up all sorts of emotions in readers.

In New Zealand as editor of the mass circulating Herald on Sunday, I had a particularly worrying first-hand experience.

After some aggressive coverage of a national issue, a rabid radio talkback host, a since sacked Michael Laws, went on air and called on members of the public to shoot my journalists.

It was hard to take him seriously, but it didn't stop many of the journalists thinking about their mortality. We had security guards on the door for some time.

And just this week, one of Australian Regional Media's 12 daily editors had his life threatened by a reader unhappy with coverage on an issue. ''I know where you live,'' was yelled down the phone during the conversation.

For a family man, it doesn't get more close to home.

It might not happen, hopefully it does not. But in every part of the world, there are people who want to block free speech and the freedom of information.

Sometimes journalism can be a dangerous job. But it's a job those doing it care deeply about.

* Bryce Johns is the editorial director of Australian Regional Media, the publisher of this website.
 



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