The Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom made a submission to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press.
The AJF’s submission addressed items b) and c) in the Inquiry Terms of Reference, and provided multiple recommendations under each, largely retelling what we recommended prior to the AFP raids, in our White Paper, released on 09 May.
The concluding remarks from the AJF Submission are below:
“Trust is diminished on a global scale. There are myriad forces pushing it downwards, including: social media, globalisation, the role of big tech, the changing media landscape, unstable governments, reckless leaders, intractable global problems (Brexit), and access to information.
“To invert this downward trajectory, we must restore trust by building a framework that supports, rather than further diminishes, our democracy. A critical part of that framework is a free press, able to work in mutual respect with responsible national security forces.
“Collaboration and transparency are necessary for the democratic process. A democracy lacking in either is no democracy. The press and the security forces must be able to work cohesively with one another, and not necessarily in opposition to each other. This is currently hindered by the lack of positive legislation to protect journalists.
“The international implications of Australia’s action on this issue are of the utmost importance. In a region where democracies are shrinking and the influence of regimes is growing exponentially, Australia must set a strong example of a healthy democracy to ensure our country and indeed the region has a stable future.”