Australia’s newspapers have united in a show of unity to publicise their opposition to tough new secrecy laws in the country by voluntarily redacting their front pages.
The coordinated action campaign, entitled 'Right to Know' comes in response to attempts by the government to crack down on whistleblowers and in some cases, the practice, of journalism itself – most notably by a raid on ABC’s Sydney headquarters and the home of a News Corp journalist over the summer.
Tensions have been rising in the country following a series of court cases involving the leaking of government secrets to the press; including Richard Boyle who is facing 161 years behind bars for revealing that the Australian Tax Office had been abusing its powers.
The front-page blackouts seek to build support for efforts to enshrine protections for journalists in law including the right to challenge against warrants for journalists and protections from prosecution for carrying out their jobs.
Recent polling by the Australian Right to Know coalition found that 87% of those quizzed wished Australia to be a free, open and transparent democracy – but only 37% felt that to be the case currently.
Those taking part in the campaign included The Australian; The Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph with Facebook also expressing support for press freedom as part of its investment in the sector.
— The Australian (@australian) October 20, 2019