PEN Sydney is concerned with recent reports regarding the state of press freedom in Australia.
On Monday 24 July, French reporter Hugo Clément and three of his crew members were arrested and charged by Queensland police while covering a protest against Adani’s Carmichael coal mine. The four men have been charged with trespass for being on the railway line at the entrance to the mining company’s coal-loading facility.
PEN Sydney condemns the actions of Queensland police as an attack on press freedom and joins the MEAA’s call to drop charges and bail conditions against Hugo Clement and his crew members.
These arrests have occurred in the wake of media raids which caused Australia’s largest media outlets to publicly unite in defence of public interest journalism.
PEN Sydney International echoes the MEAA statement urging Parliament to legislate changes to the law to recognise and enshrine a positive public interest protection for whistleblowers and for journalists. Without these protections Australians will be denied important information it is their right as citizens to have.