Canberra: Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Thursday reiterated his government’s commitment to press freedom while defending the legality of the latest police raids on the media.
Morrison said that “no one is above the law” in reference to the raids that police conducted on the headquarters of the public broadcaster the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in Sydney on Wednesday and a day earlier on the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst in Canberra, reports Efe news.
“Australia believes strongly in the freedom of the press and we have clear rules and protections for the freedom of the press,” the leader told Australian the media from the UK, where he is taking part in the commemoration of the D-day landings in Normandy.
“At the moment, what we are dealing with are two separate investigations following a normal process and any suggestion that these were done with the knowledge of or with the instigation of government ministers is completely untrue,” he added.
The raids were linked to a series of reports by ABC on alleged war crimes committed by Australian elite troops in Afghanistan and to Smethurst’s information about the Australian government’s plans to give more powers to intelligence agencies to spy on the citizens of their country.
The police raids were criticized by the opposition and by media associations, which see them as an attempt to intimidate journalists and whistleblowers who leak information.