Newsletter January 2015

Australia Report

Written by Debbie Ransome

Australia’s Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA) has called for journalists to be exempt from proposed federal government proposals to allow intelligence agencies and police to access web and phone data held by service providers.

The MEAA said that this would allow intelligence agencies and the police to investigate confidential sources and whistleblowers. The Alliance added that such changes would risk making it impossible for a free press to function. MEAA Secretary, Chris Warren, said “The legislation in its current form will prevent the media proper fulfilling its role in properly scrutinising the government and others in power, to the extent that it would be impossible for a free press to continue to operate in Australia”.

After 400 days in prison, Australian journalist, Peter Greste, was released from prison on 1 February. He was freed and deported from Egypt. Mr Greste and two al-Jazeera colleagues had been arrested in 2013 and tried on charges that included spreading false news and aiding the Muslim Brotherhood. Mr Greste, who has also previously worked for the BBC, travelled to Australia via Cyprus. He has said that he is determined to fight for the release of his colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed. Mr Fahmy holds dual Egyptian and Canadian citizenship but Mr Mohamed, an Egyptian, does not hold dual nationality. The deportation process is separate from the Egyptian legal process. Under the new process, lawyers for Mr Greste had applied for deportation through presidential decree. Mr Greste’s colleagues were released on bail in early February.

Photo credit: Monash University Gippsland Campus (Archive) / cc

About the author

Debbie Ransome

Editor, Caribbean Intelligence

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