Åsa Wahlquist

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Åsa Wahlquist is an Australian journalist. For over twenty years she has been writing and speaking on rural issues, focusing mainly on Australian climate and water issues. Wahlquist recently resigned as the rural writer for the newspaper The Australian. In 2008, she released the book Thirsty Country: Options for Australia, exploring Australia's water systems and the potential impact of climate change.


In 1996 Wahlquist won a Walkley Award for a three part series, published in Australian newspaper The Land, called The Gutting of NSW.[1] In 2005 she won the Peter Hunt Eureka Prize for Environmental Journalism; in 1993 The European Community Journalist Award, and several Dalgety Awards and McKell awards for rural journalism.


For an overview of the #Twitdef defamation case, see Julie Posetti, whose tweets summarising sentiments expressed by Wahlquist in a speech given at a Journalism Education Conference in Sydney in November 2010 triggered the incident.

In summary, Wahlquist was speaking on the issues she faced on election coverage of environmental issues. The speech was attended by academic Julie Posetti, whose tweets on Twitter suggested Wahlquist found the editorial direction of The Australian Editor-in-Chief Chris Mitchell "prescriptive" and stifling.[2] [3] Mitchell threatened Posetti with defamation as a result, indicating after audio recordings of Wahlquist's speech surfaced that Australian law does not protect individuals who are "repeating accurately allegations falsely made".[4] The issue of whether the reporting is accurate remains itself in some dispute; while some press found the transcripts supported Mitchell's tweets,[3] Jonathan Holmes of Media Watch felt the unclear audio had led to a serious error in the transcript, suggesting that while "[t]he essence of what Wahlquist had to say was summarised fairly enough...in a defamation case in Australia, near enough isn't necessarily good enough."[5]


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