Australia's major newspapers published redacted front pages on Monday in a coordinated campaign to highlight government secrecy that is often justified on national security grounds. Rival media businesses first banded together to fight for press freedom in June after police raided the Canberra home of a News Corp. journalist and the Sydney headquarters of Australian Broadcasting Corp. in search of leaked government documents that had formed the basis of news reports embarrassing to the government, the AP reports. A former army lawyer has been charged over the leaks and several journalists could also be charged.
The newspaper front pages ask: When government keeps the truth from you, what are they covering? Examples of secrecy include the government's refusal to disclose which nursing homes haven been found to abuse and neglect elderly residents. The government also will not disclose how much agricultural land has been sold to foreign entities. "Australians should always be suspicious of governments that want to restrict their right to know what's going on," News Corp. Australia's executive chairman Michael Miller said. Questioned in Parliament, Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday would not give assurances that journalists targeted in the June raids would avoid being charged. "There is no one in this country who is above the law," Morrison said.
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