It is with huge relief that ABC journalist Dan Oakes will not face any prosecution for his work on investigative reports the Afghan Files. 

In the following statement (15 October), ABC Managing Director, David Anderson, and Director of News, Gaven Morris, welcome the decision not to prosecute and call for better protections for journalists and their sources when acting in the public interest.

David  Anderson, ABC Managing Director:

The Australian Federal Police has notified me that the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions will not proceed with any action against our journalist Dan Oakes and that the matter is now finalised.

This follows the same decision in regards to ABC journalist Sam Clark in July.

While we welcome this decision, we also maintain the view the matter should never have gone this far.

That the CDPP has reached the decision that prosecuting our journalists is not in the public interest only compounds what we have argued all along: Journalists in this country should not be prosecuted for doing their jobs and legislation needs to be changed to provide proper protection for journalists and their sources when they are acting in the public interest.

This whole episode has been both disappointing and disturbing.

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 and it remains online for audiences to read.

Gaven Morris, ABC Director, News:

It’s more than three years since the ABC published The Afghan Files and over a year since the AFP raided our Ultimo building hunting information on the confidential sources for that reporting.

The pressure on our journalists Dan Oakes and Sam Clark over that time has at times been extreme, and they have handled it with admirable fortitude.

While we’re enormously relieved the ordeal is now over for them, the ABC’s fight for public interest journalism to be protected is far from over.

We will always back our journalists to report independently and without fear or favour stories Australians have a right to know.

Statement originally published on the ABC Media Centre

Header Image: People entering and leaving the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Centre in Ultimo, Sydney. Credit: kokkai/iStock