Australian police’s ABC raid condemned globally

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) raided the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the home of Annika Smethurst, the national politics editor of the Sunday Telegraph for a 2017 story about Australian special forces killing civilians and children in Afghanistan. 

The news stories ran after a major military leak that was charged under the Crimes Act that deals with classified information without any ‘public interest’ safeguards or exceptions for journalists or whistleblowers. 

The AFP denied any link between the raids and the Australian government denied any knowledge or involvement in them. 

Last year, the Australian parliament passed a data retention law, that requires telecommunication service providers to store metadata for at least two years. Government agencies are capable of requesting access to the metadata without a warrant. Rights activists claim that Australia has gone from zero national counter-terrorism laws to more such laws than anywhere else in the world. Most of them have amended existing laws, building a complex network of powers that escalates with successive years and successive governments. The process has been smoothed by another point of Australian uniqueness: the  absence of a national charter of human rights.