NEWS RELEASE

26th July 2004

The CIoJ has written to the Australian High Commission, condemning the actions of Australian police who have masqueraded as journalists to aid undercover investigations into alleged criminal activity.

In the Institute’s view, this conduct puts journalists’ lives at risk on a daily basis. As reports of this incident spread, those journalists who find themselves investigating and filing stores from conflict zones throughout the world will be working in circumstances of heightened paranoia about the independence and objectivity of the media. In an already dangerous environment this could prove fatal.

It will also make it more difficult for Australian journalists to maintain credibility because this incident will cast a shadow over the legitimacy of their profession.

A truly independent and free press is the cornerstone of any thriving democracy. Any act that inhibits the free flow of information and hinders journalists in their work, should be condemned. This incident is one such act and the Australian police authorities should be reprimanded for their part in it.

-Ends

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