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Major Projects for
Journalists’ Freedom

Below we list our major projects and initiatives.

The AJF has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status – if you’d like to know more about funding any of these projects, please click here.

Major Projects for
Journalists’ Freedom

Below we list our major projects and initiatives.

The AJF has Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status – if you’d like to know more about funding any of these projects, please click here.

Core Work

We run very lean. We have one full-time executive director. We rent one desk in the CBD with resources donated by Wilkinson Butler and Gilbert + Tobin.

Our activities include:

  • Developing relationships in Canberra, including being well advanced on a National Dialogue that brings together security forces, government, publishers and journalists to develop common goals that strengthen democracy.
  • Leading the conversation on reform. Our White Paper, developed with Gilbert + Tobin, guides the conversation on media freedom reforms that are needed. We also contribute to parliamentary inquiries by writing submissions and attending hearings when required.
  • Contributing to public awareness, with our nimble response to issues that constantly arise, led by our spokesperson, Professor Peter Greste.
  • Building relationships in the industry and seeking opportunities for partnerships and collaborations that benefit the future of journalism.
  • Coordinating and developing the AJF’s Major Projects.

Asia–Pacific Dialogue

We have started discussions on bringing together governments, security forces, publishers and journalists in the Asia–Pacific to discuss how to advance press freedom. There will be quarterly meetings, an annual event and ongoing virtual engagement.

Funds raised to support this project will go the quarterly and annual event management plus a small travel component. The rest will be pro bono. There is a 10% admin component.

Timeline: the initial outreach to establish this Dialogue is underway. Again, this is a long-term project, but we aim to have the initial round of Dialogue discussions held in early-mid 2021. Once launched they will be an ongoing project.

Asia–Pacific Press Freedom Tracker (PFT)

Our understanding of press freedom issues in our region is pathetically sparse. We need a better understanding of the complex pressures on journalists across the region. This will provide an overview of the region so organisations, governments, journalists and the general public can track the status of these issues and how they’ve evolved to aid the development of collaborative and cross-industry solutions to support press freedom and democratic principles in the Asia–Pacific.

We need funding for a researcher and the purchase of software. There is a 10% admin component.

Timeline: the initial development of this map is underway, and we are hoping to launch the initial version of the PFT in mid 2021. Once launched, the project will be ongoing.

Future of Journalism Series

AJF’s Future of Journalism is a video and podcast series that explores where journalism will be in a decade or so.

We interview leading thinkers on this from around the world. This is a critically important effort, as, if we don’t know where we are going, or where we should be going, how can we plan to get there?

Timeline: this project is underway; we will begin releasing episodes early-mid November 2020. This series will continue into 2021 with the potential to continue indefinitely.

Media Freedom Act

In the last few years there have been over 80 pieces of legislation to increase security in Australia that impact on press freedom – ironically, that legislation weakens what it is designed to protect: some of the foundations of our democracy including press freedom.

The Media Freedom Act (MFA) will act as a shield against the security legislation, which we need, to give judges more power to protect the public’s right to know.

Timeline: this project is advanced; the campaign for this has been underway since early 2019 when AJF became operational. With various components underway, this is a long-term project which we expect to continue for the next five years.

Our Submissions

The Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom (AJF) appreciates the opportunity to make this submission to the Attorney-General’s Department Review of Secrecy Provisions.

The AJF promotes media freedom and the right of journalists to report the news in freedom and safety. This includes working with governments to ensure legislation supports media freedom. The AJF was established following the release of Australian journalist Peter Greste from over 400 days imprisonment in Egypt. In the absence of specific constitutional or charter protections, the AJF advocates for a Media Freedom Act to enshrine media freedom in Commonwealth legislation. This would effectively address many of the issues we raise in this submission.

The AJF is incorporated as a public not-for-profit company limited by guarantee and is funded by donations from business and philanthropists. Funding is not sought or received from governments.

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