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Australian papers black out front pages in protest against government secrecy

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Sydney | October 21, 2019 8:41:33 AM IST
The front page of Australian newspapers was redacted as a part of united campaign against government secrecy.

National and regional mastheads including The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald and the Australian Financial Review blacked out their front page to give an impression that it had been censored in the same way as a classified government document, reported Al Jazeera.

Moreover, the country's television networks have also joined the campaign and run advertisements asking viewers to consider the question: "When the government hides the truth from you, what are they covering up?"

The protest has been designed to put pressure on the government to exempt journalists from laws restricting access to sensitive information, enact a properly functioning freedom of information system, and raise the benchmark for defamation lawsuits.

"It's about defending the basic right of every Australian to be properly informed about the important decisions the government is making in their name," Hugh Marks, chief executive of Nine said in a statement.

The restriction on media freedom in Australia was highlighted after a court order prevented media from reporting that the former Vatican treasurer Cardinal George Pell, was found guilty on child sex abuse charges.

Some Australian outlets reported that an unidentified person had been convicted but foreign media companies identified Pell because they are outside Australia's jurisdiction.

The situation escalated after the residence of a News Corp editor from ABC was raided on suspicion of receiving national secrets.

The raid drew huge condemnation from media organisations around the world, In the UK, the BBC called the raids "deeply troubling". (ANI)

 
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