Australia’s public broadcaster weighs legal action after police raid

The raid targeted ABC executives and journalists involved in a two-year-old investigative report on Australian special forces suspected of killing men and children in Afghanistan. (AFP)
Updated 10 June 2019

Australia’s public broadcaster weighs legal action after police raid

  • It is the second high-profile raid on journalists in 24 hours
  • Some 100 documents were seized by police in the raid

SYDNEY: Australia’s public broadcaster is considering legal action to demand the return of documents seized in a police raid, its chairwoman said Monday, ahead of a meeting with the prime minister over a crackdown on whistleblower leaks.
The Sydney headquarters of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) was raided by federal police on Wednesday, the second high-profile raid on journalists in 24 hours.
It targeted executives and journalists involved in a two-year-old investigative report where the ABC obtained documents showing Australian special forces had killed innocent men and children in Afghanistan.
ABC chairwoman Ita Buttrose said her organization had consulted with lawyers over what options they had, but had yet to brief anyone.
“At this point, we’re really assessing the allegations to see what actions can be taken and we want to make sure that we’re in the strongest available position to defend ourselves and also our journalists,” Buttrose told ABC radio.
The Australian newspaper reported Monday the public broadcaster had retained the services of top media barrister Matthew Collins.
Some 100 documents were seized by police in the raid and put onto two USBs that were placed into sealed bags, according to the head of the ABC’s investigations team John Lyons.
The ABC has two weeks to appeal the warrant or ask for individual documents to be returned. If there is no appeal or it is not successful, the police can then access those documents, Lyons said.
Buttrose said she would be meeting Prime Minister Scott Morrison this week to express her views about the raid. She said last week it was “clearly designed to intimidate.”
“I’m not going to tell the Prime Minister what to do. But I will tell him how we feel at the ABC and how I feel,” she said.
“I think all of the media organizations in Australia need to get together and pressure the government to review the laws and the rights and freedoms of the media.”
Police last week also raided a News Corp. journalist’s home in Canberra over a report detailing the authorities’ bid to gain powers to spy on Australian citizens communications at home.
Police said there was no link between the two raids, which related to stories involving sensitive and potentially classified materials and were embarrassing to the government and the security services in particular.


REVIEW: Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today's India

Updated 17 August 2019

REVIEW: Second season of Sacred Games mirrors the ills of today's India

CHENNAI: The first season of “Sacred Games” last year was a hit, and the second edition, which began streaming on Netflix on Aug. 15, may be even more so.

The eight episodes explore some of India's most pressing current issues such as a nuclear threat, terrorism and inter-religious animosity dating back to the country's 1947 partition. It. It also addresses how religious men can indulge in the most unholy of acts, including helping corrupt politicians.

Some of the greatest films have had conflict and war as their backdrop: “Gone with the Wind,” “Casablanca,” “Ben-Hur” and “Garam Hawa,” to mention a few. The second season of “Sacred Games” also unfolds in such a scenario, with terrorism and inter-communal disharmony having a rippling effect on the nation.

Directed by Anurag Kashyap (“Gangs of Wasseypur,” “Black Friday”) and Neeraj Ghaywan (“Masaan,” which premiered at Cannes in 2015), the web series, based on Vikram Chandra's 2006 novel, unfolds with Ganesh Gaitonde (played by Nawazuddin Siddiqui) escaping from prison and finding himself in Mombasa. He has been carted there by an agent of India's

Research and Analysis Wing, Kusum Devi Yadav (Amruta Subhash), who forces him to help find Shahid Khan (Ranvir Shorey), the mastermind behind bomb blasts and terror attacks.

In Mumbai, police inspector Sartaj (Saif Ali Khan) has just two weeks to save the city from a nuclear attack, which Gaitonde had warned him about. Both men love Mumbai and do not want it to be destroyed. But religious extremist Khanna Guruji (Pankaj Tripathi) and his chief disciple Batya Ableman (Kalki Koechlin) believe that only such a catastrophic destruction can help cleanse society and bring a cleaner, saner new order.

A narrative of deceit, betrayal, love and longing, the second season has a plodding start, but picks up steam from the fourth episode, with Sartaj and his men racing against time to find a nuclear time bomb that could wipe out Mumbai. Crude dialogue and a constant doomsday atmosphere could have been avoided, but riveting performances by the lead pair – Khan and Siddiqui (though he is getting typecast in this kind of role) – and nail-biting thrills make this Netflix original dramatically captivating.