Australian media headquarters raided by federal police
Australian Federal Police carried out a raid against the country's national broadcasting company, and the international media community is outraged.
SYDNEY — According to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the Australian Federal Police, or AFP, raided its headquarters last Wednesday.
ABC states police raided the company over a 2017 series of stories called the Afghan Files. The articles were based on leaked military reports and revealed incidents of Australian troops attacking unarmed civilians and children.
The previous day, they raided the home of Annika Smethurst, a journalist with News Corp, for a story she had published in April 2018 where she claimed the Australian government was contemplating giving spy agencies more access to surveillance.
In a press release, the AFP stated the search warrant carried out against ABC was, quote, "in relation to allegations of publishing classified material, contrary to provisions of the Crimes Act 1914." However, journalists believe the raids are being used to intimidate whistleblowers and journalists.
ABC's investigations editor, John Lyons, tweeted a picture of the AFP's search warrant which asked for access to journalist's notes, internal and external correspondence, story pitches, and diaries among other internal data.
Lyon also tweeted that the warrant allowed the AFP to "add, copy, delete or alter" material in the company's computers.
He added, quote, "All Australians, please think about that: as of this moment, the AFP has the power to delete material in the ABC's computers."
The AFP's actions were condemned by other international news outlets. The BBC tweeted out its support for ABC calling the raid "an attack on press freedom" adding it was worrying Australian media was being targeted for, quote, "doing its job of reporting in the public interest."
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