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CANBERRA, Australia -- The head of Australia's public broadcaster said Friday that she has "grave concern" about a recent police raid on the corporation's headquarters in connection with a 2017 story based on leaked documents that indicated the country's military forces were being investigated for possible war crimes in Afghanistan.

Australian Broadcasting Corp. chairman Ita Buttrose said the raid Wednesday in Sydney was "clearly designed to intimidate."

Buttrose said she had a "frank conversation" with a government minister and that, "As [Australian Broadcasting Corp.] chair, I will fight any attempts to muzzle the national broadcaster."

The Sydney raid, in which documents were taken, came a day after federal police searched the Canberra home of Annika Smethurst, the political editor of The Sunday Telegraph of Sydney, over a 2018 story detailing an alleged government proposal to spy on Australians.

News Corp. Australia, the parent company of The Sunday Telegraph, said the raid "demonstrates a dangerous act of intimidation towards those committed to telling uncomfortable truths."

There were no arrests in either raid. Australian law forbids officials from disclosing secret information, and the police warrants in both raids were based on a law enacted in 1914.

Police said in a statement that the two raids were not linked.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the Australian Broadcasting Corp. raid was a matter of police "soberly and calmly" enforcing the law.

The broadcaster said it stood by its journalists, would protect its sources and continue to report "without fear or favor" on national security and intelligence issues.

The broadcaster is a client of The Associated Press.

A Section on 06/08/2019

Print Headline: Australian media raids prompt leaders' outcry


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