Lebanese-Australian journalist Ghassan Nakhoul was selected among 12 of Australia’s most prominent journalists to present their stories at the new interactive exhibition Truth, Power and a Free Press that highlights the importance of media freedoms in Australia.
The exhibition was launched in Canberra, Australia, featuring stories told by 12 journalists who were harassed for their professional investigations and protection of their sources.
Award-winning SBS journalist Ghassan Nakhoul, who hosts and produces Australia Alyaom on SBS Radio Arabic24, was among those who have contributed to the exhibition along with other inspiring and famous journalists.
Ghassan Nakhoul relocated to Australia in 1989 and went working as a journalist to soon start experiencing first-hand the harsh consequences of investigative reporting.
His inspiring story narrates that, at the height of the Australian government’s war on people’s smugglers in 2001, Nakhoul managed to interview one of these smugglers of people over the phone.
When the smuggler was later caught trying to enter Australia and put on trial, the prosecution demanded the Nakhoul reveals the name of the source who had connected him with the smuggler.
Lawyers informed Nakhoul that he could face five years of imprisonment for contempt of court for not revealing the identity of his source should he be ordered by the judge. In the end, Nakhoul was not asked to reveal his source, but he says he was ready to risk jail time to maintain confidentiality.
“The identity of my source would go with me to the grave. It’s time to make sure that the sources for journalists are always protected; to have this right instituted in law,” he says.
Ghassan Nakhoul shared with “Good Morning Australia” program that, during that time, “he felt that he was not protected as a journalist by Australian law, as there is no material protecting the confidentiality of press sources, but that, in return, he received the great support of the Foundation SBS and its judicial team, and by the institution’s law firm and senior management.”
Nakhoul’s long career in “SBS – Arabic 24” is a good testimony that the truth is sacred to him, and the truth must be said even if at all costs, and this fact has been a weapon in his hand throughout his career dedicated to delivering the voice of truth.
Ghassan Nakhoul’s story is currently featured, along with 11 other famous and inspiring stories, in the exhibition where visitors are asked to walk the halls of Old Parliament House and hear Australian journalists explain why they work as reporters, and the responsibilities they feel in their jobs.
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