IN A sight rarely seen in the Australian media, yesterday's front pages across the country all had the same message, and it was loud and clear: media freedom is at risk, and so is the public's right to information.

If this issue doesn't concern you, it should, because it impacts on us all.

I think back to some of the most groundbreaking stories unearthed in the past that wouldn't have been possible if it weren't for tenacious journalists following difficult stories, and whistleblowers who came to them and trusted them to protect their identity.

The Boston Globe's Spotlight team come to mind, as do Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein's reporting for The Washington Post on the Watergate scandal.

Closer to home, who can forget the Chris Massters' investigation into systemic corruption in Queensland on ABC's Four Corners investigation, The Moonlight State.

 

Meanwhile, here in Australia, journalists investigating incidents of Australian special forces killing children in Afghanistan are the subject of Australian Federal Police raids.

At every turn the ways journalists are able to access information their readers have a right to know are being frustrated.

At the end of the day, reforms are being sought to help better inform the Australian public on what the government of the day is doing in their name.

Journalism is often referred to as the fourth estate of the political system, to hold those in power to account. How can we do that if there's a veil of secrecy in place and laws that stifle our ability to do our jobs?

 



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