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Whistleblower supporters demonstrate outside the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court in Canberra. Whistleblower supporters demonstrate outside the Australian Capital Territory Supreme Court in Canberra, Australia, June 27, 2019 (AP photo by Rod McGuirk).

Police Raids on Australian Journalists Threaten ‘a Fully Functioning Fourth Estate’

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Editor’s Note: This article is part of an ongoing series about press freedom and safety in various countries around the world.

Earlier this month, authorities in Australia conducted two raids in two days on the offices of the public broadcaster and the home of a prominent journalist over leaked documents, raising concerns about press freedom in the country. The Australian Federal Police searched the offices of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, or ABC, apparently in connection with a 2017 series of stories on alleged misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan. That raid came only one day after the same agency executed a search warrant on News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, over her reporting on a top-secret proposal for an expanded domestic surveillance program. In an email interview with WPR, Peter Fray, a former journalist who now co-directs the Center for Media Transition at the University of Technology Sydney, discusses the raids’ aftermath and why reforms are needed to protect freedom of the press in Australia. ...

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