Free to air lobby group Free TV Australia today expressed concern at the AFP raids on News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst and on the ABC.
Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair said: “Two AFP raids on journalists in two days is something that all Australians should find deeply disturbing. We live in a democracy, not a police state.
“The role of the media in holding our Governments to account is the cornerstone of our democracy. It is essential that journalists are able to continue to do their jobs, reporting on stories in the public interest, without fear of persecution. All commercial television broadcasters stand with our colleagues at News Corp Australia and the ABC in expressing our deepest misgivings at these attempts to stifle press freedom.”
Broadcaster Ben Fordham has also stated he was the subject of a probe over a story about six asylum seeker boats attempting to reach Australia. A Home Affairs investigation could lead to AFP criminal investigations.
“Free TV has consistently voiced its concerns at the lack of adequate protections for reporting in the public interest in recent tranches of national security legislation,” Bridget Fair said.
“It is clear today that those concerns were well founded. We call on the Government and the Opposition to support the role of fearless and independent journalism in this country and act to ensure that journalists will not continue to be intimidated in this unprecedented fashion.”