Security agencies and media must build better relationships
Two media workers from the Herald Sun were arrested by Victoria Police during a protest on Saturday, 20th February. They have since been released without charge.
This incident further iterates the great need for a National Working Group, to bring together security agencies and media in order to build trust both in and between those fundamental institutions.
The AJF has been calling for such a group since the AFP raids in 2019.
The Victoria Police statement acknowledged the role journalists and media worker play in our democracy, stating:
“To be clear, it is not our intention to arrest journalists who are simply doing their job.
“We understand and appreciate the important role media play reporting on news events such as this and we are generally only too willing to assist them with their requests.
“However, the reality is we have seen an increased number of protesters claim to be media in order to actively avoid police enforcement.”
Peter Greste, Spokesperson for the AJF, can be quoted as follows:
“In arresting these two journalists, we understand that the Victoria Police was not trying to stifle media freedom. They know it is an essential part of what makes our democracy strong.
“What this incident does show, however, is the dire need for security agencies to better understand the role and practice of media (and for the media to better understand the processes of the security agencies) so these situations don’t happen again.
“Whether it’s the AFP raids on media in 2019, or the arrest of journalists by state police in a park, each incident shows a lack of understanding and trust between two of our democracy’s most important institutions, and that is what the AJF’s National Working Group will work to fix.”
Olivia Pirie-Griffiths, Executive Director
0400716181, [email protected]