ABC Friends Victoria is appalled at the news that Federal Police have gone to the Director of Public Prosecutions, recommending ABC journalist Dan Oakes be charged in relation to the “Afghan Files” report.
In a clear threat to media freedom in Australia, police have confirmed officers have sent a brief of evidence to the Commonwealth DPP, which will now weigh up whether to lay charges.
(Journalists Sam Clarke and Dan Oakes)
ABC journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark were first notified they were under investigation nearly two years ago, after publishing a series of stories known as the “Afghan Files.”
It’s understood Sam Clarke is excluded from the brief of evidence sent to the DPP.
The story, which resulted from a leak, outlined defence department secrets, including allegations Australian soldiers killed unarmed women and children.
(ABC Managing Director David Anderson)
ABC Managing Director David Anderson has written a statement in support of Mr. Oakes.
In it, he says:
This is a disappointing and disturbing development. The Afghan Files is factual and important reporting which exposed allegations about Australian soldiers committing war crimes in Afghanistan. Its accuracy has never been challenged.
The AFP has advised it won’t be taking any further action against ABC journalist Sam Clark, who also worked on the Afghan Files. We welcome that news.
The ABC fully backs Dan and we will continue to support him however we can. Doing accurate journalism that is clearly in the public interest should not be an offence.