Adelaide Advertiser in face off with SA government over online comment censorship

The Adelaide Advertiser is at loggerheads with the SA government over a new law which does not allow anonymous online comments about the forthcoming state election.  

The new laws – which say that only those who provide their real name and postcode may comment online – will kick in when the writs for next month’s election are issued. It will particularly impact on the News Ltd paper’s Adelaide Now website.

In an editorial today, the paper wrote:

“The changes to the law were overseen by Attorney-General Michael Atkinson and passed through Parliament with a pace akin to the night when MPs rapidly voted themselves the right to have cars paid for by South Australian taxpayers.

“Although they are aimed at the internet, specifically AdelaideNow, the legislation could in some instances just as easily apply to radio shows which involve talkback. Of note, the new law would also appear to cover Twitter, the social network the Premier uses to spread his political message.”

The poisonous relationship between the paper and the government is also demonstrated in the comment given to the paper by Atkinson. It reported him as saying:

“The Adelaide Now website is not just a sewer of criminal defamation, it is a sewer of identity theft and fraud. There is no impinging on freedom of speech, people are free to say what they wish as themselves, not as somebody else.

“I am also certain that Advertiser Newspapers and News Ltdwill punish me personally, viciously for being the attorney-general responsible for this law.”


  1. David Jackmanson
    2 Feb 10
    4:29 pm

  2. The blog SA Votes 2010 Uncensored will be accepting anonymous comments on the SA election during the election period.

  3. jonathon
    2 Feb 10
    8:31 pm

  4. “I am also certain that Advertiser Newspapers and News Ltd will punish me personally, viciously for being the attorney-general responsible for this law.”

    I sincerely hope so

  5. Craig Ashley Russell
    3 Feb 10
    8:34 am

  6. I wish Mumbrella would adopt the same policy; no spineless, gutless, cowardly, faceless comments that typically amounts to bullying

    Grow a pair and put your name to what you post. And if you work in an environment where that isn’t allowed, Mumbrella job ads are in the right column —–>

  7. John Butterworth
    3 Feb 10
    12:56 pm

  8. While I’m not a fan of anonymous blog posts either, it’s bizarre and really quite scary to have the attorney general of an Australian state saying things like “In blog sites, there is just no restraint. It is a jungle of criminal defamation (and) identity theft, a sewer of fraud,”. Anyway that’s the variation on the above quote that I saw.

  9. Roberto
    3 Feb 10
    4:16 pm

  10. This morning’s Advertiser and the Adelaide Now website claim the AG has promised to repeal the law in wake of public opinion. No longer an issue.


  1. Online Safety and the South Australian election speech laws « Taryn Hicks: Semi-Regular Thoughts…
  2. Coverage of SA ban on anonymous political speech at election time « SA Votes 2010 – Uncensored
  3. Adelaide Advertiser claims victory over repeal of online comment censorship - mUmBRELLA