Chair of the Senate Inquiry into Press Freedoms, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, has vowed to look at the very concerning treatment of the press by police at the IMARC in Melbourne today.
“Journalists should be able to report on protests and demonstrations without being assaulted. Yet today, we’ve seen reports of a reporter being physically pushed and grabbed by police, and a journalist capsicum sprayed,” Senator Hanson-Young said.
“I was already deeply concerned about the behaviour of Victoria Police towards peaceful protesters during these demonstrations, and now it seems that behaviour has been directed towards the media.
“As Chair of the Inquiry, I’ll be asking the Committee to look at what’s occurred in Melbourne this week as well as police protocols for treatment of the press at protests and demonstrations throughout Australia.
“The Senate Inquiry was established after the raids on a News Corp journalist’s home and the ABC to consider the increasing erosion of press freedoms in this country. What we’ve seen today is another attack on freedom of the press, this time with what seems to be physical violence.
“We’re also seeing state and federal governments across the country crack down on the democratic right to protest in a further attempt to shut down transparency and accountability to serve their own interests.
“The over-the-top response from authorities to citizen protests and laws that criminalise journalism creates a dangerous culture of government shutting down dissent. if we are not vigilant in calling this out we will find ourselves in a country that resembles more of police state than a free and open democracy.”