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New Australian rules for police investigating leaks to media

CANBERRA, Australia — The Australian government has told police to consider the importance of a free and open press when investigating leaked documents after raids on journalists’ offices and a home in June sparked outrage about suppression of free speech.

Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says he sent a formal direction to Australian Federal Police Commissioner Andrew Colvin on Friday outlining the government’s expectations of police investigating journalists and media organizations over unauthorized document leaks.

The direction seems to reduce the likelihood of the government authorizing charges against a News Corp. journalist as well as two Australian Broadcasting Corp. reporters who were targeted in police raids.

The raids were widely condemned as an attempt to intimidate journalists for reporting classified information in the public interest that embarrassed governments.

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