Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison is seen at the Istana in Singapore. File photo/Reuters
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he will meet with executives from the national broadcaster on Tuesday as he sought to calm tensions following two police raids against prominent media organisations.
Police last week raided the head office of the government-funded Australian Broadcasting Corp (ABC) and the home of a News Corp editor amid investigations into two alleged national security leaks.
The raids, which police said were unrelated, triggered complaints of assaults on press freedom.
Under mounting pressure, Morrison said he will consider any proposals to improve media protection when he meets ABC chairperson Ita Buttrose and managing director David Anderson.
“If there is a suggestion or evidence or any analysis that reveals there is need for further improvement of those laws, then the government is always open to that,” Morrison told reporters in Sydney.
Australia has no underlying safeguards for free speech in its constitution. When the government ratcheted up counter-espionage laws in 2018, it added a provision to protect whistleblowers.
Morrison, who was overseas during the police raids, can ill afford to have the issue drag on, analysts say.
He wants parliament to approve promised tax cuts when legislators return after last month's election, but some lawmakers want to prioritise amendments to protect press freedoms.
The government does not hold a majority in the upper house Senate and Morrison will probably need the support of several independents to pass his signature tax cuts.
“We should move that protection across to any investigation of journalists in the conduct of their role,” said independent senator Rex Patrick, referring to the provision for whistleblowers.
Australian police on Tuesday arrested three men accused of links to Daesh over an alleged plot to attack police stations, embassies and defence facilities in central Sydney. The men — aged 20, 23 and 30 — were arrested
Australia’s national broadcaster went to court on Monday to challenge a police raid on its offices and demand the return of files seized during the controversial operation.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison meet with the country’s central bank chief on Wednesday to discuss the nation’s slowing economy as pressure grows for urgent fiscal stimulus.
President Dr Arif Alvi and Prime Minister Imran Khan called on citizens to strictly adhere to anti-virus protocols while celebrating Eid Al Fitr, stating that the measures were necessary to avoid a massive outbreak.
Home Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali was informed about the decision and he told the Muslim leaders that he would speak to the Director General of Police.
Proposed by the militants and matched by President Ashraf Ghani, the truce will grant respite for Afghans as they mark the Muslim festival with friends and family.