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Media representatives raised topics at the meeting ranging from increasing access to court documents, which are often suppressed, to greater protections for whistleblowers, and further modifications to Australia’s onerous defamation laws.

The percentage of freedom of information requests that are more than 90 days late has increased about tenfold over the last decade. The government has introduced the first tranche of reforms to protect whistleblowers, with the planned laws before parliament, and a review of secrecy has begun.

Nine’s managing director of Publishing, James Chessell (left), Guardian Australia editor Lenore Taylor, Peter Greste from the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom, Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus, and Schwartz Media’s Erik Jensen before the meeting.Credit:Alex Ellinghausen

A review by the Attorney-General’s Department in February proposed allowing people to sue for serious invasions of their privacy, intending to protect Australians from intrusions into their homes and digital lives. However, similar laws overseas, such as in the UK, have allowed bankers and celebrities to suppress true but embarrassing stories such as affairs and drug use. That has rankled the media. The government has not decided on the proposals and is considering the review.

“We look forward to working with the government during this parliament to deliver meaningful and material law changes to strengthen media freedom and bolster our democracy,” the media coalition spokeswoman said.


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#Media #bosses #unite #push #government #press #freedom

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