Aussie press blacks out news2019.10.29
NEWSPAPERS across Australia (澳洲) ran heavily redacted front pages on 21 October in protest against government secrecy and a crackdown on press freedom, a rare show of unity in a fractious media landscape.
National and regional papers including The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review hit newsstands with most of their front-page news stories blacked out.
The campaign by the Right to Know coalition was sparked by federal police raids on the national broadcaster ABC and a News Corp journalist’s home earlier this year over two stories that had proved embarrassing for the government.
It centres on six demands, including exemptions for journalists from strict national security laws that have created a complex web of provisions critics say too easily ensnare reporters doing their jobs.
Three journalists are facing possible criminal charges in the wake of the raids: the News Corp journalist for revealing government plans to spy on Australians, and two ABC reporters for exposing alleged war crimes by Australian special forces in Afghanistan (阿富汗).
The media groups are also calling for enhanced protections for public sector whistleblowers – who have also faced charges for leaking to the press – as well as an improved freedom of information regime and defamation law reform.
Australia’s defamation laws are notoriously complex and among the strictest in the world.
(This article is published on Junior Standard on 29 October 2019)
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