World

Australian cops raid public broadcaster ABC over Afghanistan report

SYDNEY : Australian police raided the headquarters of public broadcaster ABC yesterday, the second high-profile probe into news outlets in 24 hours, amid a crackdown on sensitive leaks.

ABC executives said police searched offices in Sydney, targeting three journalists involved in a two-year-old investigative report. In 2017, ABC obtained government documents that showed Australian special forces killed innocent men and children in Afghanistan.

The Australian Federal Police said the search was "in relation to allegations of publishing classified material, contrary to provisions of the Crimes Act 1914".

ABC executive editor John Lyons demanded the search warrant demands access to reporters' handwritten notes, e-mails, story drafts, footage and passwords, among other things.

A day earlier, the police raided a journalist's home over a report about the authorities' bid to gain powers to spy on citizens' communications at home.

Both stories involved sensitive and potentially classified materials and were embarrassing to the authorities.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has tried to distance himself from the raids, insisting they were police matters.

Shadow Home Affairs Minister Kristina Keneally demanded an explanation about why the raids occurred.

Australia's Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliancesaid: "Police raiding journalists is becoming normalised and it has to stop... it seems when the truth embarrasses the government, the result is the Federal Police will come knocking at your door." - AFP

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