The police raids on the ABC “were an extraordinary act,” according to the national broadcaster’s Managing Director David Anderson.
Anderson was in Canberra preparing to lodge a submission to the Joint Intelligence Committee and unexpectedly joined a group of Friends of the ABC and ABC Alumni in the Parliament House Theatre to hear Andrew Wilkie and other MPs speak about the importance of free media.
In comments after the MPs spoke, Anderson said the national broadcaster “needs support in getting the public to understand” how important it is for Australia to have free and independent media.
“We believe in national security, they do a good job in protecting us, but Australia needs to strike a balance between that and the public’s right to know,” said Anderson.
This week the ABC will be putting in a submission detailing what changes it thinks are required to federal legislation to ensure media freedom.
“Such as the 1914 crimes act under which the warrant was issued… [the Act goes back to] 1914, before the ABC existed…
“They also used the criminal code of the receipt of stolen good… there’s a patchwork of amendments that need to be made here… otherwise you can [do] whatever you like” to journalists, he said.
Steve Ahern was there for radioinfo and captured the comments, which you can watch below.
ABC Friends’ national president Margaret Reynolds, who organized the event in Parliament House along with Victorian president Ranald McDonald, said the raids on the ABC and The Australian’s journalist Annika Smethurst are “very disturbing for democracy in Australia.”
She told radioinfo her inbox has been clogged with emails of support for the ABC Friends’ campaign for media freedom and independent media. Ministers and backbenchers offices have been inundated by tens of thousands of emails from ordinary Australians outraged by the assault on media freedom, according to Reynolds. “We will continue to defend the ABC and media freedom,” she said.
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