Australian Federal Police raid offices of national broadcaster over leaked documents

Wednesday, June 5th:  The Australian Federal Police have today raided the Sydney offices of the national broadcaster, over a series of documents leaked to the ABC relating to the war in Afghanistan.

Over the course of 8 hours, police officials searched the Ultimo offices of the government funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC).

The warrant was reported to have named ABC’s director of News Gaven Morris, as well as journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark- the authors of a series of 2017 articles based on the leaked documents, known as the Afghan Files.

The leaked documents revealed allegations that Australian Special Forces had made unlawful killings in the middle eastern nation.

Police officials were reported by the ABC to have left with ‘two USB drives containing a small number of electronic files, which were sealed in plastic bags pending a review by ABC lawyers.’

“This is a serious development,” said ABC managing director David Anderson, expressing “concerns over freedom of the press and proper public scrutiny of national security and Defence matters.”

The Australian Federal Police have said that the events of Wednesday are unrelated to Tuesday’s search on the Canberra home of NewsCorp journalist Annika Smethurst. It has been believed that Tuesday’s search was in relation to her 2018 story about the government’s planned public surveillance.

The Union for Australian journalists, the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance (MEAA) has warned about the raids.

MEAA Media section president Marcus Strom has said the searches show a “disturbing pattern of assaults on Australian press freedom. This is nothing short of an attack on the public’s right to know.”

No arrests have been made in relation to the searches.

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