Major Australian media on Monday blacked out the front pages of publications as part of the Right to Know campaign aimed at pushing forward stronger protection for media freedom after several attempts to penalize whistleblowing by the country's government, media reportedMOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 21st October, 2019) Major Australian media on Monday blacked out the front pages of publications as part of the Right to Know campaign aimed at pushing forward stronger protection for media freedom after several attempts to penalize whistleblowing by the country's government, media reported.
Australian media have long been concerned over threats to press freedom, but the issue has become more acute following two police raids earlier this year. In particular, on June 4, the police raided the house of News Corp political reporter Annika Smethurst over an April 2018 story, revealing plans by the Australian Signals Directorate to secretly receive citizens' emails, text messages and bank details without their consent. On June 5, the police searched the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's (ABC) headquarters in connection with 2017 publications accusing Australia's special forces of committing war crimes in Afghanistan.
The Right to Know Campaign unites Nine, News Corp, the ABC, the Special Broadcasting Service, The Guardian, and the journalists' union of the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported. At the bottom of the blacked out front pages is written: "When the government hides the truth from you, what are they covering up?"
According to the newspaper, participants of the campaign call for strengthening rights and enhancingthe protection of public-interest journalism, introducing six main demands: providing media companies with the right to contest search warrants; protection for whistleblowers; limiting secrecy; information freedom reform; defamation law reform and providing exemptions to protect journalists from prosecution.
The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper said that although the Australian government stressed the importance of the free press, Prime Minister Scott Morrison expressed support for the summer police raids, saying that the country's law enforcers did their job to protect national security.