On Wednesday, federal police showed up at the ABC's Sydney headquarters armed with a warrant naming a news director and the two reporters who broke that story and demanding access to everything from emails to notes and drafts. Federal agents later reviewed more than 9,000 documents, according to John Lyons, ABC's executive editor.
"I have to say, sitting here watching police using a media organisation's computers to track everything to do with a legitimate story I can't help but think: this is a bad, sad and dangerous day for a country where we have for so long valued - and taken for granted - a free press," Lyons tweeted.
The raid is the second this week by Australian Federal Police on a journalist, and comes at a time of growing concerns of eroded press freedoms around the world and in the U.S. Advocates decried the police actions at ABC's headquarters and warned it would have a chilling effect on investigative reporting in the country.
"Attacks on public interest whistleblowers and the free press drive at the heart of our democracy," said Emily Howie, a legal director at Australia's Human Rights Law Centre. "Governments may be uncomfortable about journalists exposing wrongdoing, but that's precisely why a free press is absolutely vital."