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Right To Know: Australian Media Companies Campaign Against News Censorship

Australians around the nation have woken to find major news outlets censored, with some newspapers, websites and broadcasters featuring stories with heavily redacted sections.

Frontpages of newspapers including The Australian, The Daily Telegraph, The Financial Review and The Herald Sun had thick black coverings across their stories as well as a featured stamp that read, "Secret, Not For Release".

The words that were visible included, "news restrictions, jail terms, secrecy, for journalists, and whistleblowers" and the question, "when government keeps the truth from you, what are they covering up?"

The frontpage takeover forms part of the 'Right To Know' campaign -- a protest against more than 60 laws introduced over the last two decades that seek to penalise journalism and whistleblowing.

The redacted sections of the front pages aim to warn Australians of a future where governments might be able to withhold information of public interest from being published or broadcast.

READ MORE: Jane Caro: The ABC Raids Could Spell The End Of Democracy As We Know It

“Australia is at risk of becoming the world’s most secretive democracy. We’ve seen the public’s right to know slowly erode over the past two decades, with the introduction of laws that make it more difficult for people to speak up when they see wrongdoing and for journalists to report these stories”, ABC’s Managing Director David Anderson said.

“No one is above the law but something in our democracy is not working as it should when we fail to protect people acting in the public interest.”

Research conducted for the Right To Know campaign found that 87 percent of Australians value a free democracy, where the public is informed through the media, however, just 37 percent believe this actually occurs.

Another 76 percent of people believe journalists should be protected from prosecution when reporting stories that are of the public interest.

One key area of concern is the Royal Commission into Aged Care, where 81 percent of people who are concerned about the welfare of elderly people believe there is more information the government is withholding.

The data also shows Australians are increasingly concerned the government is lacking transparency on issues including climate change, personal data, public funds and immigration.

This move to highlight current and future censorship on media follows Australian Federal Poice raids on the ABC and News Corps journalist Annika Smethhurst in June.

READ MORE: 'Disturbing Time To Be A Journalist': AFP Raid ABC

“This is not just about police raids of journalists’ homes and our nation’s newsrooms,” Nine Entertainment’s CEO, Hugh Marks said.

“This is much bigger than the media. It’s about defending the basic right of every Australian to be properly informed about the important decisions the government is making in their name.”

For more information on the Right To Know campaign, head to yourrighttoknow.com.au.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au