Australian newspapers black out front pages in protest against censorship
Canberra - Australia's major newspapers have
published blacked-out front pages on Monday as part of a unified
campaign calling on the conservative government to better protect
freedom of the press.
The front pages depicted a heavily redacted government document to
show the level of censorship, alongside a media campaign asking to
change laws that criminalize journalism and whistleblowing.
The Sydney Morning Herald called for "significant law reform to stop
the suppression of information," while The Australian newspaper
pointed to a "sustained attack on the rights of journalists."
Nineteen media organizations and journalist unions joined forces in
the "Your Right to Know" campaign against the government's
heavy-handedness in June after federal police raids at a public
broadcaster's office and a reporter's house in search of leaked
— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields)
The campaign calls for six key legal changes, including the right to
contest search warrants and a regime that limits which documents can
be marked "secret."
The media groups on Monday warned against creeping laws that allow
government and bureaucrats to cover-up scandals and hide or restrict
The front page of tomorrow’s Australian pic.twitter.com/1QqLjqKHVD— Bevan Shields (@BevanShields) October 20, 2019
The media coalition said that more than 60 new laws have been put in
place over the past 20 years, which effectively criminalize
journalism and penalize whistleblowing.
"Australia is at risk of becoming the world's most secretive
democracy," David Anderson, managing director of national broadcaster
ABC, said in a statement.
Meanwhile, Australian Federal Police chief Reece Kershaw told a
Senate committee investigating the raids and press freedom on Monday
that they are reviewing the handling of sensitive investigations.