Home affairs minister rejects calls to drop prosecution against Australian journalists

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, July 12, 2019
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CANBERRA, July 12 (Xinhua) -- Australian Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has rejected calls to drop legal action against journalists who were the subject of federal police raids in June.

Dutton, who is responsible for the Australian Federal Police (AFP), told Nine network television on Friday that he would not bow to the demands of media executives, declaring that reporters who received classified documents broke the law.

"Nobody is above the law and the police have a job to do under the law," he said.

"I think it is up to the police to investigate, to do it independently and make a decision about whether or not they prosecute."

The AFP in June raided the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst with a warrant for the seizure of documents relating to a story she wrote in 2018 about intelligence agencies receiving the power to spy on Australians.

The next day officers entered the headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) with a similar warrant for documents relating to a story written by journalists Daniel Oakes and Samuel Clark about alleged war crimes committed by Australian soldiers in Afghanistan.

"These are laws that go back decades in western democracies like ours where, if you've got top secret documents and they've been leaked, it is an offence under the law and police have an obligation to investigate a matter referred to them..and they'll do that," Dutton said.

Under the Crimes Act anyone who receives or communicates a classified document can face up to seven years in prison. Enditem

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