Protect our Free Press, Whistle-Blowers and our Right to Know
This week, the home of journalist Annika Smethurst and the ABC headquarters were raided by the AFP. Journalist Ben Fordham revealed he is the subject of a probe.
Each of them published well-researched and vetted news stories blowing the whistle on atrocities committed by our armed forces, and secret plans by our politicians to spy on us.
Annika exposed plans within Defence and Home Affairs departments to spy on Australian citizens.
The ABC reported on potential war crimes by Australian troops in Afghanistan.
These journalists and the whistle-blowers who spoke to them showed immense courage and integrity and did the Australian public a great service.
The law currently allows court officials to issue warrants allowing authorities to ACCESS, ALTER, and DELETE material held by journalists, publishers and broadcasters in relation to these news stories. Our Government is now using those laws, via its departments (like the Department of Defence, and Peter Dutton's Department of Home Affairs) to take away our free press which is a KEY democratic liberty.
These raids are intimidating. They're a warning to all those thinking of speaking up against corruption and misbehavior of government officials and agencies, and a sign of impending punishment for those who have.
These raids mean confidential whistle-blowers, who expose wrongdoing and atrocities occurring in our name, can be identified and pursued for speaking out. Just look to the 161 years of prison time facing ATO whistle-blower Richard Boyle, and the prosecution of Witness K and his barrister Bernard Collaery.
The Morrison Government cannot even explain how the stories which triggered the raids are a "threat" to our national security, rather than just a threat to its political reputation.
Let us be clear. Without a free press, we don't have democracy. The public has a "right to know" and journalists and whistle-blowers ensure that we do.
The Australian Public will not stand for this. We will not be silent as our democracy is eroded. We will stand by our whistle-blowers, our journos, and our Press, which must be FREE.
Sign below and share, to stand with us.
Adjunct Professor George Newhouse
National Justice Project
We, the undersigned, demand that Prime Minister Morrison, Minister Dutton, and the Australian Parliament:
1. Change the law to protect whistleblowers who expose government wrongdoing and the wrongdoing of government-related agencies, and ensure that the media can freely expose government wrongdoing;
2. Return all material seized during recent raids, untouched; and
3. Drop charges against Witness K, his Barrister and protect any other whistle-blowers connected to the raids this week from prosecution.
The Protect our Free Press, Whistle-Blowers and our Right to Know petition to Scott Morrison and Peter Dutton was written by National Justice Project and is in the category Politics at GoPetition.