The ABC has today lodged an application in the Federal Court of Australia to set aside the warrant that authorised the Australian Federal Police raid earlier this month and to demand the return of seized files.
Managing director David Anderson said: “It is important that Australians be advised of this action and of the determination of the ABC to defend our journalists and the crucial work they do informing the public.
“The ABC is asking the Court for a declaration that the warrant was invalid on several technical grounds that underline the fundamental importance of investigative journalism and protection of confidential sources. We are also challenging the constitutional validity of the warrant on the basis that it hinders our implied freedom of political communication.
“The ABC is also seeking a permanent injunction to prevent the AFP accessing the material seized and to return it to us immediately. It is currently being held by the AFP in sealed envelopes.
“A full hearing on the matter is not expected until late July-early August. The AFP has given an undertaking not to access the files until our proceedings are determined.
“Because of the court proceedings, I cannot add much more.
“Rest assured, though, that the ABC will be using every avenue over the next few weeks to defend the actions of its journalists and to seek legislative changes that protect the media’s ability to report on matters of public interest.”
The ABC raid was sparked by 2017 reports, based on leaked top-secret Defence documents, that highlighted serious allegations of war crimes by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.
News of the raid was reported around the world described as an attack on journalism.
On Wednesday the ABC boss will be speaking at the National Press Club with Michael Miller, Executive Chairman of News Corp Australasia, and Nine CEO Hugh Marks.
“Collectively and individually, we are committed to working constructively with the Government to address weaknesses in the legal protections for journalists and whistle blowers and to push for meaningful, urgent reform,” he added.