Australian Newspapers Publish Redacted Cover Pages

As part of Australia's "Right to Know” campaign, major news outlets banded together to raise awareness about the threat to free press from government intimidation.

Some of the largest news organizations in Australia banded together to promote a new campaign advocating for press freedom, by blacking out the covers of their newspapers and time slots on broadcast networks. 

The statement was part of their “Australia’s Right to Know” campaign, which aims to  to highlight “the constraints on media organizations under strict national security legislation.” This comes four months after Australian journalist, Annika Smethurst’s house was raided by federal authorities following an investigation she was working on about the government surveillance on people. 

News Corp, Smethurst’s employer, said that the raid was a “dangerous act of intimidation.” She is now facing possible criminal charges relating to that story. ABC headquarters in Australia was also raided in June after they released a story about Australian troops killing men and children in Afghanistan. 

During their Sunday night primetime slots on October 20, Australian broadcasters began airing ads for their campaign. Major newspapers also printed cover pages with blacked out text the following Monday, to symbolize what they say is the government working to silence the press.

“You have a right to know what the government’s you elect are doing in your name," they explain on their website. “But in Australia today, the media is prevented from informing you, people who speak out are penalised and journalism that shines a light on matters you deserve to know about is criminalised.” 

Those included in the campaign are:

  • The Guardian
  • Daily Mail Australia
  • The Age
  • Sydney Morning Herald
  • Nine Network
  • And more