Australia minister warns international journalists amid China spat

Sydney, September 13

A senior Australian authorities minister on Sunday warned international journalists working within the nation they may come beneath the scrutiny of federal companies if they supply a “slanted view” of Australian affairs.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton made the feedback throughout a tv interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corp, referring to journalists reporting to “a particular community”.

While he didn’t point out China, Dutton’s feedback come after the evacuation from China final week of Australian journalists Bill Birtles and Mike Smith, who sheltered in Australian diplomatic compounds after being questioned by police.

Australian Cheng Lei, who works as a enterprise anchor for CGTN, China’s English-language state broadcaster, earlier was taken into custody.

“If people are here as journalists and they’re reporting fairly on the news, then that’s fine,” Dutton advised ABC TV’s Insiders programme. He stated reporters shouldn’t present “a slanted view to a particular community”.

Dutton wouldn’t affirm experiences 4 Chinese journalists had been questioned by Australia’s nationwide safety company ASIO in June however stated there had been “ASIO activity”. “Where ASIO has sufficient grounds for the execution of a search warrant or for activities otherwise, then they’ll undertake that activity,” he stated.

“If people are masquerading as journalists or business leaders or whoever they might be and there’s evidence that they are acting in a contrary nature to Australian law, then ASIO and the Australian Federal Police and other agencies will act.”

He stated there was no proof that motion by the Australian companies had put Australian journalists in China in danger. Asked about Cheng Lei, he stated “we want to work very closely with the Chinese in relation to that matter and we’ll continue to do that”.

Beijing accused Australia of interference in China’s inside affairs and judicial sovereignty for offering diplomatic safety to Birtles, who experiences for the ABC, and Smith, who works for the Australian Financial Review.

“Australia’s actions in organising the two journos to hide in the embassy completely exceed the scope of consular protection and in fact is interference in a Chinese legal case,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian stated. AP

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