Australia, 5 June 2019:
Electronic Frontiers Australia, the premier digital rights body promoting and protecting digital rights since 1994, condemns second raid of journalists by the Australian Federal Police in as many days.
“Just yesterday we were calling out the disgraceful authoritarian behaviour of the AFP in raiding journalist Annika Smethurst,” said EFA Chair Lyndsey Jackson. “Now we have the AFP conducting a raid on our national broadcaster over a story from two years ago that revealed allegations of unlawful killings and misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.”
“It is intimidation, plain and simple,” she said.
It is obviously in the public interest for journalists to write stories about misdeeds conducted in our name by our governments. Those who have the courage to blow the whistle on illegal activities by government bodies risk a great deal to hold the powerful to account for their actions. They deserve to be protected from retaliation.
The AFP’s actions—yesterday and today—illustrates that here in Australia we do not enjoy the freedoms available in other nations, and it is well past due for Australia to have a national Bill of Rights that enshrines basic freedoms at the highest level of the law.
For far too long major parties have conspired to pass laws that undermine Australians’ basic rights, and the past couple of days are the direct result. These powers must be removed before they can be abused any further.