Tens of Australian newspapers blacked out their front pages on Monday, October 21, 2019, to protest against secrecy laws. (Andy Park/Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Australian newspapers stand together for press freedom

October 25, 2019 9:30 AM ET

The Torch is a weekly newsletter from the Committee to Protect Journalists that brings you the latest press freedom and journalist safety news from around the world. Subscribe here.

In Australia, around two dozen newspapers blacked out their front pages on Monday to fight back against secrecy laws. The campaign, led by Australia’s Right to Know Coalition, follows the June raids on the ABC’s Sydney headquarters and the home of Annika Smethurst, a politics editor for the Sunday Telegraph, the legality of which is being challenged in the high court. CPJ reported on problematic legislation and produced a one-minute video explainer about the concerning raids in June. CPJ stands in solidarity with Australia’s journalistic community and echoes the call for greater transparency and legislative changes to ensure journalists are able to do their job.

CPJ’s Senior Africa Researcher Jonathan Rozen spoke with journalists in Nigeria, where he investigated a global trend of law enforcement seizing journalists’ electronic devices and conducting forensic device searches. CPJ has documented device seizures around the world, from the U.S. to Slovakia and Iraq.

Global press freedom updates

  • Legal threats prompt journalists to take creative approaches to investigative stories
  • Burundi police arrest Iwacu journalists covering unrest
  • Algeria arrests fifth journalist amid anti-government protests
  • In Spain, journalists covering Catalonia demonstrations attacked and harassed by police and protesters
  • Donetsk militants announce 15-year 'sentence' for Ukrainian journalist Stanyslav Aseyev
  • Kazakh journalist Amangeldy Batyrbekov jailed on criminal libel charges
  • Azerbaijani journalist Seymur Hazi detained in run-up to protests
  • U.S. court dismisses suit against former Sri Lankan defense secretary over murder of Sri Lankan journalist Lasantha Wickramatunga
  • Russian police raid news outlets and journalists’ homes in October 15 crackdown
  • Demonstrators set fire to El Mercurio de Valparaíso newspaper office in Chile


On October 29, 2019, CPJ will publish its annual list of countries where journalists are murdered regularly and their killers go free. The report, "Getting Away with Murder: CPJ's 2019 Global Impunity Index,” marks the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists on November 2.

This year alone, CPJ has confirmed 10 cases of journalists murdered in connection to their work. Explore these cases and more in our database.

Journalists interested in an embargoed copy can email [email protected]. Learn more about our ongoing global campaign against impunity here.

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