Australia

Buttrose to meet Morrison as ABC weighs up legal action in wake of raids

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The head of the ABC, Ita Buttrose, is preparing to meet with Prime Minister Scott Morrison following raids on the ABC's Sydney headquarters.

Protests are planned outside the office of Prime Minister Scott Morrison's communications minister following raids by the Australian Federal Police on the Sydney headquarters of the ABC.

The public broadcaster's chair, Ita Buttrose, is now weighing legal options ahead of a meeting with Mr Morrison.

AFP officers trawl through ABC emails and files watched on by the broadcaster's lawyers.
AFP officers trawl through ABC emails and files watched on by the broadcaster's lawyers.
Twitter

Ms Buttrose last week complained to federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher of the "sweeping nature" of the AFP warrant "clearly designed to intimidate".

The raid came off the back of stories published by the ABC in 2017 alleging Australian soldiers may have carried out unlawful killings in Afghanistan, based on leaked Defence papers.

ABC Chair Ita Buttrose (L) and Prime Minister Scott Morrison are expected to meet soon. The ABC boss is now considering legal action.
ABC Chair Ita Buttrose (L) and Prime Minister Scott Morrison are expected to meet soon. The ABC boss is now considering legal action.
AAP

This, along with another raid on the Canberra home of a News Corp Australia reporter, has sparked a political debate in Australia over the freedom of the press and protections for journalists.

Asked if the ABC planned legal action Ms Buttrose said the broadcaster had consulted lawyers about its options and would ensure it was "in the strongest available position to defend ourselves" and its journalists.

Across the country, newsrooms rallied in solidarity with the ABC and News Corp, including the SBS News newsroom (pictured).
Across the country, newsrooms rallied in solidarity with the ABC and News Corp, including the SBS News newsroom (pictured).
SBS News

It's unclear when the meeting is expected to take place.

The ABC has two weeks to appeal the warrant and seek the return of the documents. But if an appeal is unsuccessful or does not go ahead the AFP would be allowed to examine the documents.

A protest rally in support of the ABC will be held on Tuesday outside Mr Fletcher's electorate office in Lindfield, in his seat of Bradfield, on the upper North Shore.

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