Project title National Security and Press Freedom
Duration  8 weeks commencing 25 November 2019 (with a break over new year)

It has long been observed that national security laws have the potential to undermine press freedom. Across the world, the tension between counter-terrorism measures and democratic values is acutely felt. In Australia, this tension most recently came to a head in the June AFP raids on the ABC Headquarters and News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, which led to a Parliamentary Inquiry on press freedom.

This project is part of a broader collaborative study between the schools of Law and Journalism which aims to understand, map and assess the impact of national security law on the proper functioning of a free and effective press, in Australia and in comparative jurisdictions.  Lessons drawn from this analysis will support specific recommendations for reform to protect both national security and press freedom.

This Summer project is likely to focus on recent updates and amendments to Australia’s national security frameworks and/or assessing whether historical instances of ground-breaking public interest journalism would be possible under present-day national security frameworks.

Expected outcomes & deliverables

Scholars may gain skills in legal analysis within a complex political framework, policy advice, historical case study analysis, and will have the opportunity to generate publications from their research. They will gain experience in collaborative research across law, political science and journalism and will present research findings to leading scholars across these three fields.

In particular they will have an opportunity to work with and feed into research led by Professor Peter Greste, UNESCO Chair of Media and Communications. The project may lead to RHD research and the exploration of potential research questions and methods in law and in collaboration with journalism and/or political science.  

Student qualities

This project is open to applications from UQ enrolled students with a background in public law in at least their third year of study. Scholars may also have a background or interest in political science and/or journalism.

Primary supervisor

Rebecca Ananian-Welsh