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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.”

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