As momentous events in Egypt demonstrate, much of the world is calling to account an “old order”. These are exciting times for the possibilities of real change in the way our societies are run.
One of the catalysts of the “people power” we see on our TV screens is the extraordinary disclosure of secret information that tells us how wars begin and governments manipulate and deceive in our name.
In the tradition of courageous investigative journalism, WikiLeaks has blown the whistles that alert us to these injustices and lies, serving a basic democratic need.
The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is an Australian.
Instead of democratic governments praising such a spectacle of empowering information — what Thomas Jefferson called the “currency” of democracy — this Australian citizen has been attacked, his life threatened.
Among the attackers has been the Australian Prime Minister.
A unique public forum, “Breaking Australia’s Silence: WikiLeaks and Freedom” will take place on March 16 at Sydney Town Hall.
It is staged by the Sydney Peace Foundation, Amnesty International, Action for Peace, GetUp, the Stop the War Coalition, and supported by the City of Sydney.
The Sydney event will feature three renowned speakers: award-winning journalist John Pilger, whistle-blowing Andrew Wilkie, the only serving Western intelligence officer to break cover and expose the truth about the invasion of Iraq, and the human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC.
Broadcaster Mary Kostakidis will moderate the public forum.
The goal of the Town Hall meeting is to both ignite and engage a public forum that will break Australia’s silence on the responsibilities of our own government towards its citizens, and, above all, the right of all of us to free speech, based on information that calls to account those who claim to speak in our name.
[The public forum will take place on March 16, 6.30pm at Sydney Town Hall. Admission is free.]