News Corp co-chairman Lachlan Murdoch has criticised the government’s new national security laws which sees journalists facing jail time for reporting on intelligence operations.
Speaking at the annual Keith Murdoch Oration at the State Library on Thursday night, Mr Murdoch warned people not to blindly trust the government when it came to press freedom.
“It might surprise you that today Australia ranks 33rd, just behind Belize, on the Freedom house index. Twenty years ago we ranked ninth,” Mr Murdoch said.
“Trust is something that should not be a consideration when restricting our fundamental freedoms. Our freedom of speech and freedom of the press are not things we should blindly entrust to anyone.”
The speech has been likened to Mr Murdoch’s grandfather, Sir Keith Murdoch, revealing the devastation at Gallipoli after reports from the battle field were censored by the military.
Today, new national security laws prevent journalists from reporting on “special intelligence operations” and could see perpetrators jailed for up to 10 years.
“A century ago, Keith Murdoch’s Gallipoli letter was Australia’s boldest declaration that our nation had the right to know the truth,” Mr Murdoch said.
“Would Sir Keith have been arrested … to spend the next 10 years in jail?”