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July 22, 2019
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Australian media bosses issue joint stance against AFP raids

CANBERRA: Australian media bosses have issued joint stance against the Australian Federal Police raid on reporters.

The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is coming under increasing pressure to overhaul laws that ‘make journalism an offence’.

The heads of News Corp, Nine and the ABC flew to Canberra today to present a united stand against the threat to press freedom and “culture of secrecy” in Australian authorities.

“We believe in being tougher on terrorism and strong on border security,” News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller said as the trio spoke at the National Press Club.

“However that does not mean we have to accept laws that make journalism an offence. We do not accept that safety equals secrecy.”

Miller added: “Too many people who frame policy, write laws, control information and conduct court hearings have stopped believing that the public’s right to know comes first.”

The AFP’s raids on News Corp reporter Annika Smethurst and the ABC were about “intimidation, not investigation,” he said.

“And not just intimidation of reporters, intimidation of people with the courage to speak to journalists.

“These raids put our democracy in danger. They put the public’s right to know in danger and they put people who talk to journalists in danger.”

Media organisations have called on Attorney-General Christian Porter to “definitively state” that neither Smethurst or the ABC’s journalists will face criminal persecution as a result of the raids earlier this month.

“We can’t be a free society if we stop caring about freedom,” Mr Miller said.

ABC’s new managing director David Anderson said it was “impossible” to overstate the importance of safeguarding press freedom and in turn the public’s right to know.