World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers


Press Freedom Resolution: Call for Australia to Revise Anti-terror Legislation in the Interests of Media Freedom

Press Freedom Resolution: Call for Australia to Revise Anti-terror Legislation in the Interests of Media Freedom

Article ID:

18176

The Board of the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA), meeting on the 12 October 2014 in Amsterdam, Holland, during the World Publishing Expo 2014, calls on the Prime Minister of Australia, Tony Abbott, to revise new national anti-terrorism legislation to better protect the work of journalists and guarantee media freedom in the country.

Under the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No 1), Australian intelligence agencies will be given broader and increased powers to combat terrorism threats, including unprecedented access to the nation’s Web networks, while journalists could risk prison sentences for reporting on matters of national security.

The WAN-IFRA Board is particularly concerned that the legislation impinges on the ability of journalists to report on matters of clear public interest, imposing sanctions of up to five years imprisonment for anyone who discloses information about a designated national security operation. If the disclosure is deemed to endanger health, safety, or notably, the effective conduct of an operation, that jail term could be extended to 10 years.

The WAN-IFRA Board believes the National Security Legislation Amendment Bill (No 1) poses a real threat to the future of journalism, reducing the media’s ability to report on matters of public interest and fulfil its important institutional role in maintaining public accountability and scrutiny. The WAN-IFRA Board therefore calls on Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott to seek further advice and consultation to better protect the work of journalists, to listen to the numerous concerns of media professionals, academics and civil society organisations, and to ensure media freedoms are fully guaranteed before the law is enforced.

Author

Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop

Date

2014-10-03 14:38

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