While NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet may laugh and dismiss the rapidly evolving situation between Youtuber FriendlyJordies and Deputy Premier John Barilaro, there is nothing to joke about. While this started through some comedic videos posted on YouTube, it has now proceeded to the courts and is much more significant than an individual defamation hearing.
Furthermore, the producer of FriendlyJordies channel was arrested by the fixated persons unit this week, a unit that was created to target dangerous lone actors or fixated persons who pose a risk of serious violence. The producer was attempting to hand over a legal document to Barilaro; however, a manipulated set of facts on the official evidence document for the arrest demonstrates the seriousness of the situation. It’s not disputable. The facts were highly exaggerated, blatantly incorrect for no apparent reason, and all resulted in a criminal charge for a 21-year-old who now faces 3 years in prison.
From here, I want to direct you towards the video on FriendyJordies channel, where he goes into more specific detail on the event and the possible next steps in the legal proceedings. You can find the video here:
I didn’t want to sit here and write a script of the video when FriendlyJordies does an excellent job of summarising the situation while including all the relevant detail.
Now, this is an evolving legal situation, so I’m not going to speak on every aspect today. However, there are a few crucial things I want to mention.
Firstly, if you’re not concerned about the actions of this ‘fixated persons unit’, you should be. They acted off one manipulated document, had no communication with the police, and were seemingly ordered by a politician (John Barilaro) or someone connected to a politician. This is an utter abuse of power that shouldn’t be available without significant procedures. In the trial for FriendlyJordies producer Kristo Langker, this will be heavily debated, and I hope the courts can highlight the disgusting behaviour of the Deputy Premier in this incident.
Secondly, I want to briefly touch on the defamation case against Jordan Shanks, who is the YouTuber FriendlyJordies. His videos against the Deputy Premier were far from flattering. The reputation of Mr Barilaro has already been significantly tarnished over the past few years, so it’s not surprising he decided to go down the route of defamation. Most politicians would quickly dismiss the claims and move on with what they are elected to do. If Mr Barilaro did this, FriendlyJordies would be forced to create different content. However, because the Deputy Premier escalated the situation, it has only sparked further videos, additional attention and now what looks to be a lengthy legal dispute. Will the defamation case be successful? At this stage, it’s hard to tell, and as times passes, it will become more apparent, but what is certain is that John Barilaro has now put himself in a lose-lose situation. There is no victory for the Deputy Premier.
Lastly, I want to also speak about something that various other commentators have referenced when reacting to the unfolding situation. Whether you are a fan or hater of FriendlyJordies content, he is crucial to the functioning of our democracy. Outspoken and critical progressive journalists and political commentators are a dying breed in our country. They have been forced out of the mainstream media by the Murdoch Press, leaving our media incredibly one-dimensional. There must be a diverse range of media to ensure an effective democracy, and Barilaro’s attempt to silence Jordan Shanks is terrifying. As an independent political commentator, I applaud the courage of Mr Shanks and will encourage him throughout his legal dispute to ensure the continuation of alternative voices in our media.
If you’d like to donate to FriendlyJordies legal campaign, I will leave the link below:
As this situation evolves, I’ll be following every step. I doubt this will be my last post on the topic, so, until next time, I’ll leave you with this:
Media diversity requires diverse media ownership. When our media is primarily controlled by one owner, they wield enough power to dictate our democracy without any votes and without any fear of losing their power.