Author: Hilary M. Carey <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, 17 May 1997 11:52:05 +1000
Subject: Query: Political postings on H-ANZAU (was FYI: Request for finance and signatures for WIK)
I thank Alan Ward, John Dargavel, Jim Duffield, Joe Rich, Julianne Lynch, Caroline Daley, John Morris, Aileen Gray (not posted), Andrew Hassam, Jeffrey Grey and others who have commented on the issue of political postings to H-ANZAU. Since I believe it is the role of the moderator to facilitate - rather than become the subject of - discussion, I do not wish to extend the debate very much further. But I think it might be useful if I argue the case for a policy which the editorial board of H-ANZAU might like to adopt on this issue. List members are welcome to comment on this as they please.
A number of copies of the Wik advertisement, which originated with Jim Duffield and the Perth Black Deaths in Custody Watch Committee, were sent to H-ANZAU, as well as others relating to a similar campaign for a letter which is being sponsored by the NTEU (National Tertiary Education Union). I bounced all of these, but posted one under the 'FYI' (For Your Information) banner and this has been the subject of debate.
It might be asked: What is H-ANZAU for and does it have a specific mission? The H-ANZAU welcome message which appears on the list website states that H-ANZAU is a "discussion list for the history of Aotearoa / New Zealand and Australia, and related fields." It goes on:
The aim of H-ANZAU is to provide a forum for the discussion of research projects and ideas, as well as providing news of resources, conferences and events of interest to researchers, teachers, archivists and librarians. We are committed to the provision of information which will enhance quality teaching in universities and secondary schools. We are especially keen to support teachers and researchers of the history of Australia and Aotearoa / New Zealand working in overseas centres.
While there is no specific prohibition placed on 'political' postings, these have the potential to unbalance the list, as John Morris pointed out very clearly. The posting of the Wik advertisement might be justified as an 'event of interest' to H-ANZAU subcribers, especially given the strong interest in this theme over the past few weeks, but I would agree that it is probably best to keep such potentially divisive matters off the list. Andrew Hassam and John Morris have argued that political issues of this kind tend to exclude non-Australian residents from the discussion circle. Since a consideration of the interests of this important and numerous group of H-ANZAU subscribers is written into the H-ANZAU mission statement, I would support a policy which excludes postings of political messages, narrowly defined, from the list.
History, University of Newcastle.
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