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Mandatory Voluntary Cencorship in OZ

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Howard moves to censor secrets
By defence writer DON GREENLEES

September 15: The Federal Government is renewing efforts to protect
national defence and intelligence secrets under a revived system of
media censorship.

Cabinet's National Security Committee decided early this month to
start talks with media executives on voluntary censorship and backed
away from threats by the former government to impose $1 million
($US723,000) fines over publication of official secrets.

But the Government will put the onus on the media to make voluntary
censorship work or ultimately face legislation that would impose huge
fines for disclosure of sensitive military and intelligence

It comes almost two years after the Labor government reached an
impasse with media executives over a proposal for a "voluntary" system
backed by $1 million fines for a prohibited broadcast or publication.

The move followed revelations by disaffected former Australian Secret
Intelligence Service agents of spying operations and about the bugging
by Australian intelligence of foreign embassies, including China's and

Senior sources said the six-member Cabinet security committee, chaired
by John Howard, had decided to take a more conciliatory line than the
former government by first trying a genuinely voluntary system to
maximise the chances of winning media agreement.