Australia "may well be the world's most secretive democracy," writes Damien Cave in The New York Times. It's cracking down on journalism that embarrasses the government, using arrests, raids and expansive warrants to chill reporting to an alarming extent.
The journalist whose home was raided Tuesday, Annika Smethurst of The Sunday Telegraph of Sydney, had the authorities rifling through her belongings for more than seven hours. At the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Wednesday, the police downloaded more than 9,000 documents based on a warrant giving them authority to examine phones and notebooks of many journalists that had nothing to do with the articles in question.
"No turf, no terrain is off the books," said Joseph Fernandez, a media law expert at Curtin University in Perth. "The law is very very wide reaching, and it is very disturbing."
He added that it was hard to imagine how any of these articles could have been construed as a threat to national security rather than simply an embarrassment for officials and politicians.