Your Right to Know

Australia’s Right to Know coalition (Nine, News Corp, the ABC, SBS, The Guardian , and journalists’ union the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance) have come together to call for reforms to protect public interest journalism

The coalition has six key proposals for “necessary and urgent” reform. The changes would strengthen rights and protections for public-interest journalism.

  • The right to contest search warrants : Applications for search warrants to be made to a high-level judge, with the relevant media outlet to be notified and given the opportunity to challenge the warrant.
  • Protections for whistleblowers: Expanded safeguards for government whistleblowing, including an expanded public interest test. The outlets want to see a culture of secrecy replaced with a culture of disclosure.
  • Restrictions on secrecy: New rules governing what information governments can deem secret, with obligations to regularly audit the material being kept from the public.
  • Freedom of information reform: A suite of changes to FOI law to reduce and restrict the significant delays, obstacles, cost and exemptions that allow government agencies to prevent disclosure.
  • Journalist exemptions: Exemptions to protect journalists from prosecution under a number of national security laws. Media outlets can currently mount legal defences against charges under these laws but want this strengthened to exemptions for public-interest journalism.
  • Defamation law reform: Overhaul of defamation law to adapt to the digital era, address inconsistency across states territories, and ensure it is operating as intended.

From SMH

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This doesnt help their cause - there are many legitimate reasons why court suppressions exist

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Be nice if the media class gave a shit about anyone else’s rights, not just their own.

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I saw a commercial on this campaign during Seven News last night.

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Yep. This is just self serving garbage.

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Say what now?

I am all for a right to know but unfortunately some journalism has gone from fact based reporting to opinion based reporting. And that is dangerous for democracy and for the judicial system.

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Exactly. Just look at Sky News.

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Interesting story. Kerry Stokes is supporting Roberts-Smith in his legal action.

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Includes a statement from ABC managing director David Anderson.

The validity of the AFP raid shows that the Coalition will do anything to muzzle the media and to stop it from reporting on anything that will embarrass the Federal Government.

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The Australian Federal Police are now not an independent Commonwealth police force. They essentially waved away the case of Angus Taylor distributing information from fraudulent documents, but are determined to jail a whistleblower who exposed crimes committed by Defence personnel.

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High Court rules AFP raid on News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst was unlawful.

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While three judges said they thought the material should not be kept by police, the majority of the court declined to make an order, meaning police could keep the material for any future possible prosecution related to the case.

EDIT: News Corp Australasia executive chairman Michael Miller responds to High Court ruling.

The High Court ruling sends an indisputable message, that the Federal Police must obey the law and that their raid on Annika Smethurst’s home was illegal.

All Australians should be extremely concerned that a journalist’s home can be raided illegally. It’s now vital that the Federal Government must allow media organisations to contest warrants against journalists to avoid debacles like this one occurring again.

Annika Smethurst should not be prosecuted for simply doing her job as a journalist to rightly inform Australians on serious matters of public interest.

It’s time for the Federal Government to bring this sorry mess to a prompt end. It’s time to end Annika’s ordeal.

Free TV Australia:

High Court Decision Highlights the Need for Contestable Warrants

The High Court has today unanimously decided that the warrant to search News Corp Journalist Annika Smethurst’s home in June 2019 was invalid.

Welcoming the decision, Free TV’s CEO, Bridget Fair said, “Today’s decision confirms the media’s concerns that the AFP overstepped the mark. In a democracy, you should not be able to conduct raids on journalists and media companies without a valid reason.”

Free TV called on the Government to respond to the Right To Know Coalition’s calls for action on better protections for journalists and whistleblowers.

“While it is extremely concerning that the raid happened at all, we hope that this decision will now spur the Federal Government to address the concerns raised by Australia’s Right To Know Coalition of media companies. The High Court’s decision only emphasises the need for a contestable warrant scheme for raids on journalists and media companies.

“It is clear from today’s decision that our current laws do not adequately protect public interest journalism”, Ms Fair said.

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One of the points of the execution of a search warrant is generally to surprise the people being searched so they have no opportunity to hide or destroy evidence. Will the federal government really change the law so the AFP has to give advance notice if they want to search a journalist’s home or workplace?

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Mike Pezzullo should be fired. He is totally comprised. His comments on this case make him a liability. If Dutton won’t sack him, then Philip Gaetjens and Scott Morrison should direct him to be sacked.

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UPDATE: statements from MEAA federal president Marcus Strom and the Australian Centre for International Justice


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