Open letter to PM on ABC raid
ABC Alumni, representing former staff, condemn the recent police raid on the ABC and the seizing of journalist scripts and notes.
We express our support and concern for all ABC staff who, like us, are deeply troubled by this assault on Australia’s national broadcaster. This police action, and others like it, strike at the heart of democracy by threatening media freedom.
The threat of imprisonment of journalists and their sources for disclosing information in the public interest is completely unacceptable. So too is the action of police in raiding the ABC in such a manner and in confiscating such a wide range of journalistic material. All documents seized during this raid remain ABC property and should be returned without alteration or delay.
We believe the legislation enabling this raid should be immediately repealed. In particular, police should have no right to delete or alter a publisher’s documents. The public interest must be paramount. We call on the Federal Parliament to pass legislation to protect the rights of whistle-blowers and the media, and to prevent this kind of intimidation.
We also call on the Australian Federal Police to adopt an interim protocol to protect journalistic freedom and integrity within the current law.
Freedom of expression and media are fundamental pillars of democracy. They should be a constitutional right for all Australians.
We urge ABC staff to remain strong in the face of this unprecedented intimidation, and we commend and support the actions of ABC management, the Managing Director David Anderson and the ABC Chair Ita Buttrose in defending the organisation.
Rolf de Heer
Anne Maria Nicholson