June 24, 2021

An Australian court endorses a police record on the ABC television network



An Australian court today denied a lawsuit by the public television network ABC to declare invalid the records that police made last June in their Sydney offices for leaking secret documents that compromised the government.

The police action, criticized as an attempt to silence the press, responded to the publication in 2017 of the so-called “Afghan Archives”, which revealed alleged crimes committed by Australian elite forces deployed in Afghanistan.

Judge Wendy Abraham of the Federal Court argued that the Federal Police requested the cooperation of ABC and that the records were made with the presence of the lawyers of the chain and access to the files was made through an employee.

“Given the communication between the parties and the events that led to the execution of the records, there can be no doubt that the purpose of the court order was linked to crimes related to the Afghan Archives,” the magistrate said in her ruling.

The ABC unit search took place one day after police conducted another one in the home of journalist Annika Smethurst, who published information about the Australian government’s plans to give more power to intelligence agencies to spy on citizens

Following the controversy, the Australian attorney general, Christian Porter, announced last September a series of measures to protect journalists who disseminate sensitive security or defense information, so that they can only be prosecuted in cases extremes

Porter said that if the Public Prosecutor considers that a journalist should be judged, he must “require the consent of the attorney general as a separate and additional safeguard,” although he did not mention the journalists affected by the June records or rule out a possible process for them. judicial.

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