The Countdown Begins


It’s been a big week for New Matilda. We’ve well and truly cleared the $100K hurdle in our fundraising campaign but with a week to go, we have our work cut out for us if we’re to reach our $175,000 target. If you haven’t signed up yet, please do so now.

We’ve been editorialising for months now about the value of independent media. We’ve argued that people — and organisations — who love to complain about the shortcomings of big media should be prepared to cough up and support independent media outlets like New Matilda. We even resorted to a slightly begging tone.

And then came WikiLeaks, which has ignited discussions about media independence and the manner in which big media outlets report international affairs. As Assange writes, "Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest."

WikiLeaks isn’t just the story of the month. The release of the US diplomatic cables has set the news agenda across the world and there’s no sign that the pace will abate. If an object lesson was needed in the relationship between online media and money, it is in the responses of PayPal, Mastercard, Visa, Amazon and a host of other companies to suspend their relationship with the whistleblower website.

We join New Matilda contributor and Overland editor Jeff Sparrow in his appeal to Julia Gillard:

We therefore call upon you to condemn, on behalf of the Australian Government, calls for physical harm to be inflicted upon Mr Assange, and to state publicly that you will ensure Mr Assange receives the rights and protections to which he is entitled, irrespective of whether the unlawful threats against him come from individuals or states.

New Matilda is a small fish compared to WikiLeaks but we know what it’s like to be threatened by big and powerful interests. We are committed to bringing new information and perspectives into public debate and, as we announced when we relaunched in October, if we endure into 2011, we plan to run more investigative, data-driven journalism.

This resonates with what Assange calls scientific journalism. He writes in an editorial published by the Australian today:

WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?

We’re looking every which way for help as we move into the last week of our fundraising campaign. If Julian Assange wasn’t setting the news agenda, the only face we’d be seeing on the front pages of Australian newspapers would be that of Oprah Winfrey. We’re not going to appeal to Assange for help right now but we are going to reach out to Oprah! Read Ben Pobjie on why Oprah should save NM and join the Twitter campaign: #OprahsavesNM

New Matilda cartoonist Fiona Katauskas is offering New Matilda readers signed prints of her December cartoons for $40 (including postage). These hi-res A4 prints are printed on hahnemuhle paper and usually sell for $45. Choose from this on WikiLeaks or look out for Fiona’s next contribution on Friday.  Email us at and we’ll take your order. Postage may take a few weeks but if you place an order by next Wednesday, you’ll receive your print in time for Christmas.

Remember: this is the last week you’ll have an opportunity to become a New Matilda supporter and ensure that we stay online in 2011. If you don’t sign up by midday next Wednesday, there will be no second chances.

Thanks for your support!

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Launched in 2004, New Matilda is one of Australia's oldest online independent publications. It's focus is on investigative journalism and analysis, with occasional smart arsery thrown in for reasons of sanity. New Matilda is owned and edited by Walkley Award and Human Rights Award winning journalist Chris Graham.