Media Statement From Tim Macartney-Snape Friday 30 May 2003
We are relieved that the jury agreed with the Foundation’s view that this program was defamatory of Jeremy Griffith, the Foundation and myself.
In 1998 the Australian Broadcasting Authority ruling discredited this Four Corners program as ‘inaccurate, partial and unbalanced’. The ABC refused to apologise and declined its right to challenge the ruling. I still find it astonishing that in order to receive justice we have had to pursue this matter through the courts.
Today’s outcome is also a relief to us because it confirms that the community is deeply concerned that new ideas be subjected to proper debate rather than extreme misrepresentation.
The greatest injustice Four Corners did, over and above the damage to the reputations and livelihoods of those involved, was to stifle the development of a discussion about new ideas.
Today’s outcome is a major victory for the principle that new ideas should be debated in a fair and tolerant way.
The principles of democracy and fair debate are most critical when they are concerned with inquiry into the human condition. Although such inquiry is controversial, it is the only undertaking that can genuinely resolve the issues facing us as a species.
Inquiry into the human condition – human’s confounding capacity for good and evil - is at the cutting edge of science. Its ideas are confronting and necessarily challenge mainstream scientific and theological thought.
Rather than supporting work in this critical area, the ABC has been a proponent of ignorance.
We were determined and obligated to bring our national broadcaster to account and in so doing we hope to help it restore the moral and social fibre it once had.