Sunday, November 20, 2011

Police to raid journalists Wednesday

Police look set to conduct raids on four media organisations including two publicly owned broadcasters this Wednesday if the High Court rules against the legality of the recording of the Epsom tea party.

The police search warrants and threat of raids on media organisation that do not have copies of the tape just out from an election brought condemnation from the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ). The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 131 countries.

“While there are ethical questions about how the recording was made, the police clampdown on news media organisations just nine days before New Zealand's general election is alarming, and may be interpreted as an attempt to suppress media freedom,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

Ironically if the police do raid media organisations Wednesday in a fishing exercise on the orders of John Key then the attack on media freedom will coincide with an international day of protest against the killings of journalists on November 23. More than 500 journalists have been killed in the past 10 years and in nine out of 10 cases, the killers have gone free.
International Day to End Impunity is a call to action to demand justice for those who have been killed for exercising their right to freedom of expression and shed light on the issue of impunity.

Every day around the world journalists, musicians, artists, politicians, and free expression advocates are being silenced, often with no investigation or consequences to their persecutors.
Whether or not the taping was intentional or not, legal or illegal, Key's complaint and the police search warrants put the freedom of the newsroom and the safety of journalists under fire. If agents of the state do raid the newsrooms of this country then the international journalist community can add New Zealand to the long list of countries where the powerful intimidate the media with impunity.

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