The front page of The Sydney Morning Herald. Picture: Twitter
The front page of The Sydney Morning Herald. Picture: Twitter

Australian newspapers black out front pages in protest against censorship

By DPA Time of article published Oct 21, 2019

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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

government documents.

%%%twitter https://twitter.com/hashtag/yourrighttoknow?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw" style="font-size: 12pt;">#yourrighttoknow https://t.co/5kFp0H4gwe pic.twitter.com/LgX6yHq39m

— 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

information.

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. 

dpa

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