Police raid on journalist’s home threatens democracy, say lawyers

4th Jun 2019

The law must protect journalists and their sources from harassment by police and security agencies, says the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) commenting on today’s Australian Federal Police raid on News Limited journalist Annika Smethurst’s home.

“The public interest defence must be available to the media and their sources in the case of prosecution,” said Mr Greg Barns, criminal justice spokesperson, ALA.

“Annika Smethurst’s story was clearly within the public interest.  This intimidating behaviour by the police poses a serious risk to our democracy, and undermines the accountability of the government to the people that it serves.

“Scrutiny of government agencies by the media is critical to a democracy, and it is very concerning that these security agencies seem to want to avoid any examination.

“Journalism has a role to play in ensuring that government operates within the confines of the law and in the public interest. True government accountability is possible only where journalists are able to report in a frank and fearless manner.

“This requires vigilant protection of both the rights to freedom of speech and privacy for journalists and their sources.”

The ALA is a national association of lawyers, academics and other professionals dedicated to protecting and promoting justice, freedom and the rights of the individual.

Tags: media Privacy