In an unprecedented move, newspapers across Australia published covers featuring blacked-out stories in order to protest raids on journalists, media outlets and a crackdown on whistleblowers in the country.
The campaign has ignited a movement in defense of press freedom in Australia.
You have a right to know what the governments you elect are doing in your name. But in Australia, people who speak out are penalised and journalism is being criminalised. It needs to change. #RightToKnow #pressfreedom #MEAAmedia https://t.co/tv5cIcedle pic.twitter.com/eZtvKe2Pbx— MEAA (@withMEAA) October 20, 2019
Led by Australia’s Right to Know Coalition, the campaign emerged following the raids on News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, who now faces possible criminal charges, and a raid on the ABC headquarters after a report was published detailing incidents of Australian special forces troops killing men and children in Afghanistan.
The government's position is that nobody is above the law, including media that leak sensitive "state secrets."
While the government withholds information relating to aged care abuse, proposed new powers to "spy on ordinary citizens," and the terms of land sales to foreign companies, Australians believe these are matters they absolutely have a right to know about.
Why was a $1 billion Australian Government travel contract awarded to a company run by the then federal Liberal Party treasurer? When the documents were released months later, they were so redacted as to be virtually useless.— MEAA (@withMEAA) October 21, 2019
It's your #righttoknow https://t.co/JoSsfkXWyC pic.twitter.com/P7X2f54Yf0
The Australian parliament has passed more than 60 laws relating to secrecy and spying in the past 20 years. It is currently reviewing whistleblower laws. Twenty-two have been passed in the past two years.
The Australia’s Right to Know reforms being sought are: The right to contest any kind of search warrant on journalists or news organisations before the warrant is issued, law change to ensure public sector whistleblowers are adequately protected, a new regime that limits which documents can be marked ‘secret’, review of Freedom of Information laws that journalists be exempt from national security laws enacted over the past seven years that currently can put them in jail for doing their job, and reform to defamation laws.
Stand up with Australian media for freedom of speech. Some Oz politicians are enemies of democracy & the system itself has a problem if it creates this kind of small dictator. This same dictatorship has been played out in the secrecy about exile of refugees.#righttoknow pic.twitter.com/iB14DpSH0x— Behrouz Boochani (@BehrouzBoochani) October 21, 2019
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