ABC And News Corp Take AFP Raid Battle To Federal Court

ABC And News Corp Take AFP Raid Battle To Federal Court
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Both the ABC and News Corp Australia have launched legal action over the Australia Federal Police raid of its Sydney headquarters two weeks ago.

The public broadcaster said in a statement on Monday it had lodged an application in the federal court to set aside the warrant that authorised the AFP raid, while also demanding the return of the seized files.

It is also requesting a permanent injunction to stop the AFP from accessing the seized files.

ABC MD David Anderson said in a statement: “The ABC is asking the court for a declaration that the warrant was invalid on several technical grounds that underline the fundamental importance of investigative journalism and protection of confidential sources.

“We are also challenging the constitutional validity of the warrant on the basis that it hinders our implied freedom of political communication.”

ABC’s Ultimo offices were raided by the AFP on June 5 in relation to a seven-part series in 2017, which revealed accusations of unlawful killings and misconduct by Australian special forces in Afghanistan, including incidents of Australian troops killing unarmed men and children.

During the raid, AFP officers seized around 100 documents, on national security grounds.

News Corp Australia also said it intends to take the AFP to court over the validity of the warrant it used to conduct its raid on the home of journalist Annika Smethurst. 

News Corp executive chairman Michael Miller said it would challenge the validity of the AFP’s warrant because the company is “determined to fight for journalism and for the public’s right to know”.

He added: “We also invite the AFP to confirm that it is discontinuing its investigation into both Annika and News Corp.”

Anderson said the ABC would defend its journalists, adding: “The AFP has given an undertaking not to access the files until our proceedings are determined.”

A full hearing is not expected to proceed until late July or early August.

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