This ABC journalist live-tweeted the entire federal police raid, and the reporting is pure gold

(Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)
  • Australian Federal Police officers raided the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s Ultimo headquarters on Wednesday, seizing documents relating to The Afghan Files, a series of 2017 leaked documents alleging Australian special forces were involved in unlawful killings in Afghanistan.
  • National and global media outlets and representative organisations have criticised the raid as an incursion of press freedom.
  • ABC executive editor John Lyons live tweeted the raid from inside the boardroom with AFP officers.

The ABC often plays host to security experts, cops and senior public servants as part of its duty as Australia’s public broadcaster. But Wednesday’s visit by Australian Federal Police officers was not for any podcast or live TV interview.

Instead, the AFP raided the ABC’s Ultimo headquarters on the hunt for documents relating to The Afghan Files, a series of 2017 leaked documents alleging Australian special forces were involved in unlawful killings in Afghanistan.

Media outlets in Australia and abroad have widely criticised the move as a breach of press freedom, including a strongly-worded statement from the BBC, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison is under pressure over the extent of his government’s involvement in the raid.

But if there can be any silver lining to Wednesday’s drama, it’s that there’s no shortage of people inside the ABC Centre skilled at objective and transparent reportage.

And John Lyons, the ABC’s executive editor and head of investigative journalism, did exactly that.

Over a seven-hour period, Lyons offered the public a real-time rundown of the AFP raid via Twitter, providing details around the feds’ intention, activity, a little commentary and some colour where appropriate.

Here are some of the highlights.

After Lyons’ marathon day of tweeting, veteran ABC journalist Barrie Cassidy questioned whether the reporting should be rewarded.

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