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Industry

Australia fights for press freedom

Yesterday (October 21st), Australian news outlets challenged threats to freedom of press by blocking out the writing on the front pages of their daily newspapers in support of an ongoing campaign.

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Australia’s news outlets have come together to fight for press freedom

The black blocks of censorship symbolised an ongoing battle between Australian media outlets and the Australian government’s alleged attempts to suppress information and prosecute whistle-blowers.

According to the Your Right to Know campaign, two government committees are currently looking into press freedom and set to issue recommendations over the coming months about the laws which will influence what the government can keep from the public.

Newspapers which took part in the campaign include Newcastle Herald, The Border Mail, The Canberra Times, and the Bendigo Advertiser, amongst others.

The communities we serve trust us to keep them connected and informed, so ACM is proud to support this campaign to protect the public’s right to know

A website has been launched by a coalition of leading media organisations titled Your Right to Know. It features public interest journalism including an exposure of banking malpractice and the Australian Tax Office’s power to withdraw money from people’s bank accounts without them knowing.

The coalition found that although 87% of Australians value a “free and transparent democracy”, only 37% believe this is happening.

In addition to this, 76% feel that journalists should not be criminalised for reporting in the public interest.

Australian Community Media (ACM) censored the front pages of all 14 of its daily newspapers. ACM chief executive, Allen Williams tells The Canberra Times: “Australians expect and deserve to know what’s going on, and how and why the government decisions that affect their lives are made.

“The communities we serve trust us to keep them connected and informed, so ACM is proud to support this campaign to protect the public’s right to know.”

The BBC describes the censorship of the front pages, as “Australia’s biggest newspaper rivals [making] a rare show of unity”.

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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