Blocking open reporting a ‘slippery slope to dictatorship’
ANY effort to stop journalists from openly reporting on issues that affect the government is a "slippery slope to dictatorship".
That is the view of Mackay Mayor Greg Williamson, who has spoken out on the critical importance of a free speaking and investigative press to the nation.
His comments came after media companies from all over the country united to form Australia's Right to Know coalition in an unprecedented action to fight for press freedoms and the public's right to know.
"We see levels of freedom gradually disappear under the guise of national security and it's very hard to challenge that, because on one hand, people demand to feel safe," Cr Williamson said.
"When you have these huge global upsets like September 11 and the fact that aeroplanes were getting hijacked and people's lives were being destroyed by terrorists, it's easy for governments to use that as a methodology to chip away at freedoms we enjoy through democracy.
"You cannot have a veil of secrecy over all levels of government and call yourself a true democracy."
Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox said press freedom and accurate reporting were important to ensuring his community remained informed about issues affecting them.
"The council works for the community and the community deserves to know what we're doing," Cr Willcox said.
Both leaders said public and live-streamed council meetings and engaging with and being accessible to the media were examples of how each respective council maintains transparency with press and the community.
The Daily Mercury also contacted Isaac Mayor Anne Baker for comment but did not receive a response by deadline.