New Matilda will appear in the Federal Court tomorrow morning over the publication of a series of racist and sexist emails written by University of Sydney Professor Barry Spurr.
The legal action potentially has significant implications for how media in Australia deal with source material, and how we report issues which some would argue are private matters.
The case may also have implications for how journalists are able to protect the confidentiality of their sources.
New Matilda did not seek a legal fight. We simply sought to report a matter that we considered – and still consider – to be of significant public interest.
Professor Spurr has worked for the Abbott Government, and has influenced what all Australian children will learn through the National School Curriculum. This fact alone makes our reporting a matter of public interest.
We never thought that this story would become about journalism. We always believed that the story was about racism, and education policy. At its core, we maintain that belief, although we acknowledge the importance of the legal action before the Federal Court. And on that front, New Matilda acknowledges that there is an important public debate to be had about the right of individuals to privacy from media reporting.
We should also acknowledge that since we broke this story, we’ve had overwhelming support, not just from our (much loved) regular New Matilda readers, but from a wider audience.
The support has come in the form of kind messages on social media, offers of legal support, phone calls, and by taking out paid subscriptions to New Matilda. We sincerely thank those who have supported us, in particular the New Matilda regulars, and we look forward getting back to business as usual next week.
Of course, we do need financial help – as we always do. If you are able, you can support us financially here. But we also appreciate the assistance provided to us by people simply sharing our stories on social media.
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