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Police raids against news editors were legal

2020-02-17T19:50:43.210Z

In June last year, the police made a strike against Australian public service company ABC's news editor. Now a court has ruled that the police had the right to seize computers and other editorial material after a report on suspected war crimes, reports Sweden's radio.



"This decision is a severe blow to the Australian people's right to information," ABC News Chief Gawen Morris said outside the Sydney court, writes The Guardian.

The reason for the scare against ABC was a previous report on how Australian special forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan. The federal police said reporters were in breach of national security law when they received information from a whistleblower in the military. Police seized thousands of documents.

The court rejected ABC's request to illegally declare the house search against the editorial staff.

Criminal to receive information from military sources

In 2018, Australia's Conservative government tightened security laws and it became criminal for journalists to receive information from military sources or sources from intelligence services.

ABC questioned the police's right to speak, claiming that it violated an implied constitutional right to freedom of expression in political matters. But the court rejected the argument with reference to the legislation, the BBC writes.

"Serious threat to public right to information"

The Australian trade union Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance believes the verdict shows "an ongoing and serious threat to the public's right to information," the BBC writes. The government has previously said that they support freedom of the press but that "no one stands above the law".

The whistleblower himself admitted that it was he who gave ABC's reporters the information and documents and is now under investigation for several crimes. It is also the two ABC reporters who made and published the news, reports Sweden's radio.

Source: svt

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