InDaily InDaily

Support independent Journalism Donate Subscribe
Support independent journalism

News

Payne defends press freedom overseas, silent on AFP raids

News

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has defended her attendance at an international conference on media freedom, in the wake of federal police raids on journalists in Australia, saying she’s in a “no-win” situation.

Print article

The foreign minister was at the Global Conference for Media Freedom in London on Wednesday with her international counterparts, journalists and civil groups.

Her visit came amid concern about press freedoms in Australia after police raided two media outlets, requested a reporter’s travel records from Qantas and accessed the metadata of journalists 58 times.

Labor accused Senator Payne of hypocrisy, with a statement from senators Penny Wong and Kristina Keneally saying the minister needs to show her commitment by taking action back in Australia.

Senator Payne denied she was being hypocritical, saying she was in a “no-win” situation because she would be criticised if she did not attend the conference.

“I would imagine that if Australia was not represented at a conference like today, then you would say that the government wasn’t doing their job by being here,” she told reporters in London on Wednesday.

“So I suspect you would advance a position where a government was in a no-win situation.”

The foreign minister told the conference’s plenary session that Australia condemned the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last year.

Senator Payne also talked about how she raised the plight of two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar with leaders in that country in December.

But she did not mention Australian Federal Police raids on the News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst’s home or the ABC headquarters, or their requesting of ABC journalist Dan Oakes’ private travel records.

The foreign minister also did not make any mention of the AFP accessing journalists’ metadata 58 times in one year.

“While Australia ranks relatively highly on the World Press Freedom Index, we recognise that a sensible balance needs to be reached between protecting our national interest in the face of ever-evolving security challenges and upholding the public’s right to know,” Senator Payne told the conference session.

She said that was why a parliamentary committee was looking into law enforcement, intelligence and press freedom.

-AAP

Want to comment?

Send us an email, making it clear which story you’re commenting on and including your full name (required for publication) and phone number (only for verification purposes). Please put “Reader views” in the subject.

We’ll publish the best comments in a regular “Reader Views” post. Your comments can be brief, or we can accept up to 350 words, or thereabouts.

Make a comment View comment guidelines

Local News Matters

Media diversity is under threat in Australia – nowhere more so than in South Australia. The state needs more than one voice to guide it forward and you can help with a donation of any size to InDaily. Your contribution goes directly to helping our journalists uncover the facts. Please click below to help InDaily continue to uncover the facts.

Donate today
Powered by PressPatron

More News stories

Loading next article