Journalism is not a crime

Journalism is not a crime

Open letter to the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Members of Parliament:

The Australian Federal Police raids on the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst and on the offices of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation represent a grave threat to press freedom in Australia.

We welcome the Prime Minister's stated commitment to freedom of the press and openness to discuss the concerns that have been raised.

A healthy democracy cannot function without its media being free to bring to light uncomfortable truths, to scrutinise the powerful and inform our communities. Investigative journalism cannot survive without the courage ...

Open letter to the Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Members of Parliament:

The Australian Federal Police raids on the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst and on the offices of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation represent a grave threat to press freedom in Australia.

We welcome the Prime Minister's stated commitment to freedom of the press and openness to discuss the concerns that have been raised.

A healthy democracy cannot function without its media being free to bring to light uncomfortable truths, to scrutinise the powerful and inform our communities. Investigative journalism cannot survive without the courage of whistleblowers, motivated by concern for their fellow citizens, who seek to bring to light instances of wrongdoing, illegal activities, fraud, corruption and threats to public health and safety.

These are issues of public interest, of the public’s right to know. Whistleblowers and the journalists who work with them are entitled to protection, not prosecution. Truth-telling is being punished.

The raids, a raft of recent national security laws, and the prosecutions of whistleblowers Richard Boyle, David McBride and Witness K all demonstrate the public’s right to know is being harmed. Truth-telling is being punished.

It is also clear from the global response to the recent raids that Australia’s proud reputation around the world as a free and open society is under threat.

We urge Parliament to legislate changes to the law to recognise and enshrine a positive public interest protection for whistleblowers and for journalists. Without these protections Australians will be denied important information it is their right as citizens to have.

We urge you to take prompt action to protect our democracy for all Australians.

Signed,

Michael Bachelard, The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age; Richard Baker, The Age; Mark Baker, Melbourne Press Club; Barrie Cassidy, ABC; Phillip Coorey, The Australian Financial Review; Annabel Crabb, ABC; David Crowe, The Sydney Morning Herald/The Age; Miranda Devine, The Daily Telegraph; Malcolm Farr, news.com.au; Adele Ferguson, The Age/The Sydney Morning Herald; Marina Go, Director, The Walkley Foundation; Michelle Grattan, The Conversation; Peter Greste, Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom; Claire Harvey, The Sunday Telegraph; Tim Lester, Seven Network; Isabel Lo, Media Diversity Australia: John Lyons, ABC; David Marr, Guardian Australia; Chris Masters, Investigative Journalist; Kate McClymont, The Sydney Morning Herald; Nick McKenzie, The Age; Karen Middleton, The Saturday Paper; Katharine Murphy, Guardian Australia; Paul Murphy, MEAA; Laurie Oakes, Retired Political Journalist; Kerry O’Brien, Chair, The Walkley Foundation; Matt Peacock, ABC Alumni; Mark Riley, Seven News; Leigh Sales, ABC; Niki Savva, The Australian; Tory Shepherd, The Advertiser; Marcus Strom, MEAA; Sandra Sully, Ten News; Lenore Taylor, Guardian Australia; Paige Taylor, The Australian; Hedley Thomas, The Australian; Laura Tingle, ABC; Lisa Wilkinson, The Project

This open letter is supported by the following organisations:


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Email your MP

Take action by emailing a signed copy of this open letter to Scott Morrison, Anthony Albanese and your local MP and Senators to urge Parliament to change the law to enshrine a positive public interest protection for whistleblowers and for journalists to protect our democracy for all Australians.

Without these protections Australians will be denied important information it is their right as citizens to have.

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