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.

[ENDS]

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3 comments

  1. "The very word "secrecy" is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths and secret proceedings. We decided long ago that the dangers of excessive and unwarranted concealment of pertinent facts far outweighed the dangers which are cited to justify it. Even today, there is little value in opposing the threat of a closed society by imitating its arbitrary restrictions. Even today, there is little value in insuring the survival of our nation if our traditions do not survive with it. And there is very grave danger that an announced need for increased security will be seized upon those anxious to expand its meaning to the very limits of official censorship and concealment. That I do not intend to permit to the extent that it is in my control. And no official of my Administration, whether his rank is high or low, civilian or military, should interpret my words here tonight as an excuse to censor the news, to stifle dissent, to cover up our mistakes or to withhold from the press and the public the facts they deserve to know."

    "For we are opposed around the world by a monolithic and ruthless conspiracy that relies on covert means for expanding its sphere of influence--on infiltration instead of invasion, on subversion instead of elections, on intimidation instead of free choice, on guerrillas by night instead of armies by day. It is a system which has conscripted vast human and material resources into the building of a tightly knit, highly efficient machine that combines military, diplomatic, intelligence, economic, scientific and political operations.

    Its preparations are concealed, not published. Its mistakes are buried not headlined. Its dissenters are silenced, not praised. No expenditure is questioned, no rumor is printed, and no secret is revealed."

    "No President should fear public scrutiny of his program. For from that scrutiny comes understanding; and from that understanding comes support or opposition. And both are necessary. I am not asking your newspapers to support the Administration, but I am asking your help in the tremendous task of informing and alerting the American people. For I have complete confidence in the response and dedication of our citizens whenever they are fully informed.

    I not only could not stifle controversy among your readers-- I welcome it. This Administration intends to be candid about its errors; for as a wise man once said: "An error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct it." We intend to accept full responsibility for our errors; and we expect you to point them out when we miss them.

    Without debate, without criticism, no Administration and no country can succeed-- and no republic can survive. That is why the Athenian lawmaker Solon decreed it a crime for any citizen to shrink from controversy. And that is why our press was protected by the First (emphasized) Amendment-- the only business in America specifically protected by the Constitution-- not primarily to amuse and entertain, not to emphasize the trivial and sentimental, not to simply "give the public what it wants"--but to inform, to arouse, to reflect, to state our dangers and our opportunities, to indicate our crises and our choices, to lead, mold educate and sometimes even anger public opinion.https://archive.org/details/JohnFKennedySecretSocietySpeech

    Comment by haveibeenpwned on 19 June 2019 at 17:45
  2. Australia already requires prepaid SIM users to register their ID details before a connection can be activated, They claim that SIM registration will prevent criminal use of mobile services. In reality that is just going to drive criminal communications underground anyway. This type of registration scheme is not about preventing crimes,its about control on citizens. Australia is already using powers similar to China. To make matters worse these telecoms have direct access to the Australian goverment database to check IDs,The ACMA mandates these regulations. If they are already doing this to prepaid phone users,imagine what they could to to journalists,whistleblowers,and others that they could be prosecuted for whatever reason without court order.

    Comment by Ryan on 3 July 2019 at 19:08
  3. AMEN TO THAT...

    Comment by haveibeenpwned on 27 August 2019 at 18:45

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