Without a free media, it is so much harder to expose or scrutinise bad environmental decision-making that damages the places and wildlife Australians love.
“Australians should be deeply troubled by this week’s Federal Police raids on news outlets and even on the home of a political journalist.
“A free press and the protection of public interest whistleblowers are absolutely essential elements of a strong and healthy democratic system.
“Without a completely free media, it is so much harder to expose or scrutinise bad environmental decision-making that will damage the places and wildlife Australians love.”
Just recently, media investigations have been crucial in exposing practices like mining companies accessing Australia’s emissions reduction fund to burn more fossil fuels and attempts by dirty coal plants to use the funds to upgrade their equipment.
“These police raids risk having a chilling effect on Australia’s free and fearless press and on potential whistleblowers,” Ms Elberth said.
“When individuals have information that is clearly in the public interest, protected channels must be available for them to speak out.
“There’s been a consistent and troubling pattern of reprisals against whistleblowers; their legal protection needs to be strengthened.
“Australia’s democracy relies on a free press, a strong and vibrant civil society that can advocate in the public interest and whistleblowers who are able to speak up without fear of being exposed.
“Everyone who cares about our democracy should speak up to defend these values.”