1st Edition

Shooting the Messenger
Criminalising Journalism

ISBN 9781138296619
Published April 6, 2018 by Routledge
244 Pages

USD $44.95

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Book Description

If the Al-Qaeda terrorists who attacked the United States in 2001 wanted to weaken the West, they achieved their mission by striking a blow at the heart of democracy.

Since 9/11 governments including those of the USA, the UK, France and Australia have introduced tough, intimidating legislation to discourage the legitimate activities of a probing press, so greatly needed after the Iraq War proved that executive government could not be trusted.

Often hiding behind arguments about defending national security and fighting the war on terror, governments criminalised legitimate journalistic work, ramping up their attacks on journalists’ sources, and the whistle-blowers who are so essential in keeping governments honest.

Through detailed research and analysis, this book, which includes interviews with leading figures in the field, including Edward Snowden, explains how mass surveillance and anti-terror laws are of questionable value in defeating terrorism, but have had a ‘chilling effect’ on one of the foundations of democracy: revelatory journalism.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Welcome to the Machine

  1. An Island of Hope
  2. Heart of Darkness
  3. Spin and Deception
  4. The Truth Teller
  5. An Untimely Collapse
  6. Shielding the Source
  7. Spies, Lies and US Industries
  8. Truth to Power
  9. The Clamp Down
  10. The Chilling Effect
  11. Too much Information
  12. Whose Side Are You On?
  13. Shooting the Messenger

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Andrew Fowler is an award-winning investigative journalist and a former reporter with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s (ABC) Foreign Correspondent and its premier investigative TV documentary programme, Four Corners. Andrew began his journalism career in the early 1970s, covering the IRA bombing campaign for the London Evening News. He first interviewed Julian Assange for Foreign Correspondent in early 2010 and went on to write the bestselling book, The Most Dangerous Man in the World (Melbourne University Press, 2011) which has been translated and published in countries as diverse as China, South Korea, the USA, Russia, Indonesia, Romania and Taiwan.


Ironies abound in this disturbing analysis of how western governments are clamping down on media freedoms and using dragnet surveillance to amass data on every one of us. Andrew Fowler neatly summarises, "New laws are now being shaped, both in the US and elsewhere, to make illegal that which had been normal journalistic practice; to make legal the activities of intelligence agencies which had previously been outlawed" Perhaps the biggest irony is the role played by right-wing elements of the media who endorse these draconian invasions of privacy and restrictions on freedom of expression in the name of national security. Fowler convincingly argues that journalism that speaks truth to power and democracy itself could be imperilled if we allow our governments free rein to stifle signs of dissent.

The Age and Sydney Morning Herald, June 2018