Freedom of the press



Freedom of the press

Media stakeholders acknowledge the importance of Australiaʹs national security laws, but argue that press freedom is also essential to democracy. This inquiry report examines the current environment for press freedom in Australia.

Freedom in the world 2021

This report highlights that as COVID-19 spread across the world during the year, governments across the democratic spectrum repeatedly resorted to excessive surveillance, discriminatory restrictions on freedoms like movement and assembly, and arbitrary or violent enforcement of such restrictions by police and non-state actors.

Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press

On 4 July 2019, the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security commenced an inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press. The inquiry was referred by the Attorney-General, The Hon Christian Porter MP...

Report on the use of targeted sanctions to protect journalists

This report recommends that governments, including signatories to the Global Pledge on Media Freedom, adopt targeted sanctions regimes to ensure that journalists, media professionals and others engaged in journalistic activities, can carry out their work without harassment, intimidation, false imprisonment or violent attack.

Human rights in Asia-Pacfic

This document includes a detailed analysis of human rights developments in 25 countries and territories from the Asia-Pacific region.

Global Corruption Barometer: Africa 2019

Corruption is hindering Africa’s economic, political and social development. It is a major barrier to economic growth, good governance and basic freedoms, such as freedom of speech or citizens’ right to hold governments to account. More than this, corruption affects the wellbeing of individuals, families...

Laws designed to silence: the global crackdown on civil society organizations

An alarming global trend has surfaced in which states are introducing and using laws to interfere with the right to freedom of association and to hamper the work of civil society organizations and individuals who participate in them. This report shows how this phenomenon is...

Dashed hopes: the criminalization of peaceful expression in Myanmar

This report argues that concerned countries should press Myanmar to protect the rights to expression and assembly, and reform laws penalizing peaceful speech, to bring them back into line with international standards.

Freedom in the world 2018

Political rights and civil liberties around the world deteriorated to their lowest point in more than a decade in 2017, extending a period characterized by emboldened autocrats, beleaguered democracies, and the United States’ withdrawal from its leadership role in the global struggle for human freedom.

Tougher laws to thwart Chinese government influence: expert

New Zealand and Australia need tougher laws against China's political influence pedalling.
Audio interview

Australian publisher drops book for fear of retaliation from China

Publisher Allen & Unwin has dropped a book by a prominent academic on China's expanding 'soft' influence in Australia, due to 'unspecified threats.'

The chilling effect: the report into the state of press freedom in Australia in 2017

The 2017 Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance's annual report into press freedom in Australia outlines the challenges faced by journalists and media organisations.
Discussion paper

State of the media review in four Melanesian countries — Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu — in 2015

Overview This Discussion Paper looks at the shifting media landscapes in four Melanesian countries in 2015 — Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. It charts and links the key developments, and considers their potentially wide-ranging impacts on policy, politics, free speech and good...

Freedom in the world 2017

In 2016, populist and nationalist political forces made astonishing gains in democratic states, while authoritarian powers engaged in brazen acts of aggression, and grave atrocities went unanswered in war zones across two continents.

Existing shield laws do little to protect Australians, or our democracy

This article argues for better 'shield laws' which are designed to protect journalists from forced disclosure of confidential sources and information. They attempt to mediate the conflict between a journalist wanting to protect their sources and a court needing the relevant evidence before it.

His Majesty's gracious ordinance regarding the freedom of writing and of the press

On 2 December 1766 Sweden enacted what is regarded as the first freedom of information law. The most recent translation into English was made by Ian Giles and Peter Graves, Scandinavian Studies, University of Edinburgh, and released on 7 October 2016.

Bulk collection: broken democracy? Journalism and post-Snowden legislation - Comparative study: Australia and the United Kingdom

What is the impact of state surveillance on journalism? This paper by Lisa Main, a journalist for ABC, and a member of their investigative unit, aims to contribute to the debate. The mandatory bulk collection of data by governments presents liberal democracies with a dilemma...

“They can arrest you at any time”: the criminalization of peaceful expression in Burma

The past five years have been a time of liberalization and change in Burma. The abolition of prior censorship and a loosening of licensing requirements has led to a vibrant press, and the shift from formal military rule has emboldened civil society.

Freedom of the press 2016

Global press freedom declined to its lowest point in 12 years in 2015, as political, criminal, and terrorist forces sought to co-opt or silence the media in their broader struggle for power.

Report on the impact on journalists of section 35P of the ASIO Act

This report argues that section 35P of the ASIO Act is not justified, and that it does not contain adequate safeguards for protecting the rights of outsiders and is not proportionate to the threat of terrorism or the threat to national security.

Media ownership and regulation: a chronology part one: from print to radio days and television nights

This chronology traces the story of media ownership concentration and control since 1901 and the government policies and regulations that have responded to, or attempted to pre-empt, the trend towards concentration that has occurred since the 1920s.

Freedom in the world 2016

The world was battered by crises that fueled xenophobic sentiment in democratic countries, undermined the economies of states dependent on the sale of natural resources, and led authoritarian regimes to crack down harder on dissent. These developments contributed to the 10th consecutive year of decline...

World trends in freedom of expression and media development: special digital focus 2015

The first World Trends report in 2014 filled an important gap in contemporary media and communications research. While other studies and reports offered snapshots of specific dimensions or regions, UNESCO’s World Trends was the first to present a systematic trend analysis of the multiple aspects...

Measuring the audience: why it matters to independent news media and how it can contribute to media development

This report examines the benefits and challenges of measuring audiences for news media and media developers. Overview Audience measurements, with their resulting influence on content and commercialization, are essential components of financially viable media and media markets. They help create marketplaces where diverse media can...

Offences for disclosing information about covert operations: a quick guide

This guide provides a an overview of newly introduced offences for unauthorised disclosure of information about ‘special intelligence operations’, how they operate and the extent to which they apply to public interest disclosures. Introduction The offences for unauthorised disclosure of information about a ‘special intelligence...