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Freedom of the press, security of the nation: How Australia is risking both

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OVER the last couple of weeks, the eyes of both national and international journalists have been firmly set on Australia. The latest string of raids cements the government’s newfound reputation for absolute information control, especially when the information in question impacts national security.

Tighter restrictions on whistleblowing, journalism, and public statements made by government employees have been rolled out over the past five years, with the resultant prosecutions usually justified by concerns for national security.

Beyond the inevitable scrutiny from domestic journalists, it’s worth noting that this trend has made headlines overseas. High profile international media outlets have taken a keen interest in the government’s recent behaviour.

SEE ALSO: Cruel, and no deterrent: why Australia’s policy on asylum seekers must change

The New York Times suggested that the raids were the latest acts of a government that “seems determined to frighten whistle-blowers into silence,” while the BBC and Washington Post both reported that the government’s actions demonstrated a lack of whistle-blower protection and raised questions around press freedom.

The unfolding events in Australia have captured the world’s imagination as they represent the front lines of the battle between freedom and security – especially the freedom of the press.

But this ideological battle helps very little in reaching an understanding, especially considering that the argument rests on pitching the two pillars of liberal democracy against each other.

While arguments regarding the........

© Asian Correspondent