Press Council concerns on Police raids of journalists’ office and home
The Australian Press Council has responded to raids by the Australian Federal Police in June 2019. The raid on the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) Sydney headquarters were over ‘the Afghan Files’ – a series of investigative stories published in 2017 revealing allegations of unlawful conduct by Australian special forces that were based on secret documents leaked to the ABC. The search warrant named two journalists and the ABC’s News Director.
The June 2019 raid on the Canberra home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst alleged there had been an unauthorised leak of “national security information” in a story she wrote in April 2018, which said the Home Affairs and Defence departments were considering giving spy agencies greater surveillance powers.
The Press Council highlighted the potential implications of the Federal Police raids in its media release: “This could have a chilling effect on journalists, and may intimidate them from pursuing legitimate stories in the public interest.”
- Wednesday, 12 June 2019