Australia

Media freedom inquiry starts work

A parliamentary inquiry has begun taking submissions on the impact of police and intelligence agencies' powers on freedom of the press.

Parliament's intelligence committee is considering whether lawyers representing journalists should be able to challenge police seeking warrants to raid their offices, and has begun taking submissions.

The inquiry was sparked by two controversial police raids, one on the Canberra home of a News Corp journalist and the other on the ABC's Sydney headquarters.

A report due to be tabled in October is expected to canvass "contested hearings" in relation to warrants authorising raids on journalists, as well as current rules around police and intelligence agencies accessing electronic data on devices used by journalists and media organisations.

"This inquiry will allow the committee to hear from the media, government agencies and other interested stakeholders as to the direct impact of these powers on civil society and their importance to both national security and the public interest," said committee chair, Liberal MP Andrew Hastie.

"We will consider these issues closely and carefully."

Submissions are due by July 26.

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