ABC chair Ita Buttrose says AFP raids on media organisations damaged Australia's reputation

| 11.09,19. 05:42 AM |


ABC chair Ita Buttrose says AFP raids on media organisations damaged Australia's reputation



Photo: Ita Buttrose said the belief Australia has a free press has been "shaken to the core". (AAP: Dan Himbrechts)


ABC chair Ita Buttrose has warned the "privilege of democracy" has been taken for granted in Australia in light of police raids on media organisations.


Ms Buttrose also argued the press had been "temporarily blinded" by rhetoric on security and counter-terrorism and that the raids had damaged Australia's international reputation.


"We have always supposed we have a free press. That belief has been shaken to the core in recent times," Ms Buttrose told the New South Wales Council for Civil Liberties on Tuesday night.


"There is a perfect storm brewing in Australia — a combination of complacency and compliancy, declining trust in democratic institutions, including the media, and a swirl of misinformation and disinformation, no longer just on the dark edges of the digital world, but in the tools we use to navigate through our everyday lives."


Media outlets united to condemn the Australian Federal Police (AFP) raids earlier this year on the ABC's Sydney offices and the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst.


Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton ordered the AFP to consider press freedom before investigating journalists but police would not rule out charging reporters who publish stories based on leaked, highly classified information.


Ms Buttrose said many Australians were "deeply shocked and disturbed" by the raid on the public broadcaster.


"There's no doubt in my mind that these recent events have tarnished Australia's standing on the world stage," she said.


"We have taken the privilege of democracy for granted for too long. It is impossible to understate the importance of the public's right to know and the media's ability to inform."


Ms Buttrose also criticised a "growing culture of secrecy" and questioned whether enough attention had been paid to counter-terrorism bills introduced since 2001.


"Much of this legislation has been done quietly ... So has the media been asleep at the wheel?" she asked.


"I don't think so. I think that in the glare of 'lawfare' headlights we've been temporarily blinded by security and counter terrorism rhetoric."


Criticism over the AFP media raids prompted two parliamentary inquiries into the issue of press freedom, both of which are expected to report back by the end of the year.


abc


(Votes: 0)

Other News

Man charged over the death of Ioli Hadjilyra a week after her body discovered in Kalinga Park Iran: Sahar Khodayari’s death; calling for the condemnation of clerical regime’s misogynous policies Queensland's Sunshine Coast bushfire emergency continues as residents flee fire at Peregian Prominent AFL figure killed in single-car crash near Ballarat NSW bushfires stoked by ferocious winds, emergency alert for blaze near Yamba Sydney weather damaging winds forecast as dashcam shows tree almost falling on car on M4 Queensland fires see 11 schools close as battle to contain blazes continues Man charged with filming up women's skirts at Central Station Australians being stopped from watching live-streamed murders and terror attacks Bushfire that damaged 70 cars at Brisbane auction yard thought to be deliberately lit Summer in the offing as 30 degrees forecast for Perth — that's 10 degrees above average Foreign interference threat bigger than terrorism, warns spymaster Gold Coast hinterland bushfire out of control, fires expected to increase this afternoon across Queensland Man charged over Melbourne stabbing death Man and woman killed in Sydney motorcycle crash Heritage-listed Binna Burra Lodge in Gold Coast hinterland destroyed in Queensland bushfires Queensland bushfires continue across south-east, Applethorpe and Gold Coast Hinterland residents on high alert NSW bushfires continue to burn, with calmer conditions forecast Five feared dead after chopper goes down in bad weather off NSW coast Manhunt underway for two men who robbed WA gun store Motion to condemn abortion bill voted down at NSW Liberal State Council meeting Bushfires rage across southern Queensland, residents told to immediately leave Binna Burra and Applethorpe, too late to leave Stanthorpe NSW bushfires burning out of control, two houses lost and firefighter injured in Tenterfield Man charged with manslaughter after boy is hit and killed by a car outside Sydney school Police investigating brawl in showbag hall at Royal Adelaide Show CCTV footage of Tanya Day hitting head in Castlemaine police cell released by coroner 'Depraved and abhorrent' father Richard Haynes, who raped daughter, sentenced to 45 years in prison The Egyptian Community Canberra held a farewell dinner for H.E. Mohamed Khairat and his wife Mrs Omneya Negm Mandatory drug tests for welfare recipients could be rolled out under Government plan Man charged over stabbing death of Gold Coast teen