Police raids sought to intimidate media: ABC Chair

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ABC's offices in Ultimo Sydney

Ms Buttrose, who is only the second woman to lead the ABC board, said an "untrammelled" media which upholds the community's right to information has driven her journalistic career for nearly five decades.

"We are basically discussing a procedure we can all agree on to make this process as painless as possible", ABC lawyer Michael Rippon said on the AFP raid.

A similar raid was carried out earlier this week at the home of a journalist in Australia's capital, Canberra.

ABC managing director David Anderson says it is highly unusual for the national broadcaster to be raided.

In a statement, Ms Buttrose said she had a "frank conversation" with Federal Communications Minister Paul Fletcher on Thursday, and that the raid was "clearly created to intimidate".

It's understood the names of ABC's director Gaven Morris and journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark are against the warrant.

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The ABC's chair, Ita Buttrose, has said raids by the federal police on its headquarters were "designed to intimidate" and warned the government she will fight "any attempts to muzzle" the national broadcaster. "To have Federal Police officers - and it is not their fault - combing through people's books and sock drawers is a pretty dim image for Australia to have in the 21st century", he said.

The warning came a day after police searched the offices of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) in Sydney, acting on what they said was a "referral" from the country's defense forces over "allegations of publishing classified material".

"The ABC stands by its journalists, will protect its sources and continue to report without fear or favour on national security and intelligence issues when there is a clear public interest", he said.

Smethurst is national politics editor at the Sunday Telegraph and other newspapers owned by News Corp, billionaire Rupert Murdoch's media conglomerate.

In a statement, the AFP confirmed to Business Insider Australia that it had executed a search warrant on the home in Canberra in connection "to an investigation into the alleged unauthorized disclosure of national security information".

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who was traveling in Britain, told reporters the police acted independently and that the government believed in media freedom.

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"It is quite frankly I think outrageous that seven officers spent seven-and-a-half hours in her home, going through everything throughout her home, in the kitchen, in all of the rooms", he said about the raid on Smethurst's home.

The opposition Labor party has asked Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton to explain the raids.

Mr Morrison said the government was committed to press freedom as well as ensuring that no one is above the law.

"This is a really serious escalation of the attack on the free media, and that hits the public", he said as the raid continued.

Innes Willox - a former political adviser, diplomat and now chief executive of the Australian Industry Group - said he was anxious about the perceived politicisation of supposedly independent government departments and agencies.

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