News of the raid by by the Australian Federal Police on the ABC has been reported around the world by the BBC, CNN, The New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Washington Post, The London Telegraph, The Independent, New Zealand Herald and The Guardian.
“Australia may well be the world’s most secretive democracy” was the headline in the NY Times.
Support for the ABC has been extended from the European Broadcasting Union, BBC, the New York Times amongst others. It follows local solidarity from Free TV Australia, News Corp, Nine-owned Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, Guardian Australia and MEAA.
Reporters Without Borders compared scenes of six AFP officers poring over countless documents at the ABC to an authoritarian state.
“Persecuting a media outlet in this way because of a report that was clearly in the public interest is intolerable,” Daniel Bastard, the group’s Asia Pacific head, told SBS.
“This kind of intimidation of reporters and their sources can have devastating consequences for journalistic freedom and independent news reporting.”
New York Times:
The journalists involved were careful not to identify certain operational details that appeared in the documents they had obtained, and their report mainly highlighted the rift between elite military units and leaders trying to grapple with where to draw the line in grisly combat. Many of the journalists involved have asked why information from so long ago would be a threat to national security now when Australia has only a few hundred troops in Afghanistan playing more minor roles.
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.
It came just a day after the Canberra home of Annika Smethurst, political editor for News Corp Australia’s Sunday newspapers, was raided by seven police for seven hours.
Source: News Corp
Photo: John Lyons