Australia is considering how to strengthen media protection after two police raids

UNITED STATES (VOP TODAY NEWS) — Australian police apparently expanded their investigation after two media organizations raided, while Australian lawmakers complained on Thursday that journalists could be jailed for mere tip-top information.

Police raided the headquarters of the government-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Sydney on Wednesday, one day after a raid on an editor-in-chief of News Corp.

The raids have raised complaints of attacks on press freedom, and police say there is no link between the incidents.

The federal police initially said the raids were due to allegations of leaking classified information, suggesting that it did not affect the media receiving any such information.

But police later changed the statement on its Web site to ensure that possible crimes were referred to national secrets.

The media, lawyers and opposition politicians are seeking to clarify the content of the statement.

Asked if the change in the police statement meant the possibility of imprisoning individual journalists, “it seems like that is possible,” Shadow Attorney General Mark Dreyfus was asked in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“The government should explain whether journalists can be charged,” he said.

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation said the raid on its headquarters was related to reports dating back to 2017 on allegations of misconduct in Afghanistan, while News Corp said a raid on her editor’s home was related to an article about plans to spy on e-mail, text messages and bank accounts of Australian citizens.

During the raids, police examined about 9,000 files stored on computers in the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and searched a room at News Corp’s home containing her underwear, according to media reports.

The BBC said it was “very worrying.”

The leftist Green Party, a powerful voting block in the Australian Senate, said it wanted a parliamentary inquiry into the raids.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who was traveling to Britain, told reporters that the police acted on their own initiative and that the government believed in freedom of information.

“If there are certain laws, they will be raised in the natural way that they have to go through in a democratic environment, which I am always willing to discuss.”

Many media outlets have seen his statement as hinting that he may amend laws to better protect the media.


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