I went to see Steven Price, media law expert, explain contempt of court and the media today in a public meeting specifically talking about the Fairfax/DomPo case.
A member of the audience commented that the writer of the article which has the DomPo in trouble with the Solicitor General regarding contempt in the case of the October 15th raids had won a Qantas Media Award for his writing this year. The reporter in question is Phil Kitchin.
I just had to check this out – because my memory was that Phil Kitchin had won the Qantas award this year for his coverage of the Louise Nicholas police rape allegations.
Sure enough, here is the article the reasons he won the Print Industry Award for Outstanding Acheivement:
The award was given in acknowledgement of the skill, determination and courage of Kitchin and Pankhurst in the Dominion Post’s investigation and publication of the Louise Nicholas case involving allegations of police pack rape.
Judges agreed the Nicholas investigation was one of the most important pieces of journalism in the past decade.
No mention of “The Terror Files” article, the one the Solicitor General is concerned about, is made.
Yet on the Qantas Media Awards website, it turns out the audience member at Steven Price’s talk was dead right – Phil Kitchin won the “General” category of the Senior Reporter competition with his “Terror Files” story, apparently for “coverage of a breaking story and human relations.”
Ironic it’s ended editor Tim Pankhurst in court then.
Even more ironic if Fairfax and the DomPo lose the case and get found guilty of contempt.
Even more ironic if that allows the defence lawyers for those arrested in the October police raids to argue their ability to have a fair trial is non-existent because of the prejudicial effect of that article.
A lot of ifs and buts – but still an odd choice of article to win a national award – though I stand by Phil Kitchin’s reporting of Louise Nicholas’ rape complaint.
Haha, I just jumped on the net to check that very claim too, but got sidetracked checking blogs, including this one. Turned out to be an excellent sidetrack!
The meeting was interesting, Price was a lot funnier than I expected him to be!