Friday, November 28, 2014

News ASIO spying law a major threat to democracy, says Tom Blackburn SC

Journalists seeking to expose corrupt intelligence operations could face 10 years in jail
Journalists seeking to expose corrupt intelligence operations could face 10 years in jail.

ONE of the country’s leading media lawyers has branded elements of the government’s new counterterrorism laws exposing journalists to 10-year jail terms as deeply flawed and “potentially dangerous”. 

In a damning review of recent changes to national security laws, Tom Blackburn SC claimed principles of democracy were being put in jeopardy by provisions that make it a crime to ­report on an ASIO “special intelligence operation” (SIO).

Tom Blackburn SC / Picture: Supplied
Tom Blackburn SC Picture: SuppliedMedia executives have claimed, by including a provision to prevent any ­reporting of special intelligence operations with the threat of jail terms of up to 10 years, the government has potentially criminalised journalism.

The executives argue SIOs would also remain secret forever under the laws, meaning historians 100 years from now could potentially face jail terms for chronicling events of today.

Mr Blackburn, writing in The Daily Telegraph today, said the draconian measures would fundamentally change the nature of democracy in Australia and the media’s obligations to keep the public informed.

“It makes it a crime for all time for anyone, including the media, to expose conduct that may be highly illegal, ­entrenched and corrupt if the information revealed relates to a special ­intelligence operation,” he said.

Mr Blackburn said few would argue ASIO agents should be protected and some immunity from prosecution was warranted in light of the dangerous work they do in trying to prevent terrorism acts in Australia.

“It’s already a serious offence for someone connected with ASIO to disclose secret information that has come to them during their duties,” he said.

dailytelegraph.com.au  27 Nov 2014

These so called laws are specifically designed to keep the masses enslaved and now incarcerated under the pretext of 'terrorism', in true spirit of the new prison island, Australia.

It may seem journalists are targeted but it also applies to the 'people'.

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