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Legal expert calls for greater protection around press freedom

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The Dean of UNSW Law says greater protections around press freedom are needed after journalists and whistleblowers have been targeted by the Australian Federal Police.

The Australian Federal Police raided the ABC Sydney offices in relation to a story broadcast in 2017 about Australia’s elite special forces in Afghanistan and allegations about the unlawful killing of civilians.

The raid came just a day after the home of News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst was searched by the AFP in relation to an unrelated story.

Dean of UNSW Law George Williams tells Chris Smith new laws around whistleblowers, metadata and counter-terrorism are endangering press freedom.

“Many of these laws have given extra powers to actually close down scrutiny of government.

“They’re now being used in ways that I think really do question whether we’ve got a problem with our democracy.

“I think we have to recognise that press freedom now does need protection.

“Just having some exemptions here and there aren’t doing the job.”

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