Legal battle looms over raid on Australia's national broadcaster

SYDNEY (DPA) - A legal battle is looming over last week's controversial police raid on the Sydney headquarters of Australia's national broadcaster after its head confirmed on Monday (June 10) that legal action was being considered.

The recently appointed chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), Ms Ita Buttrose, told ABC radio on Monday that the broadcaster was consulting lawyers about its options.

"At this point, we're really assessing the allegations to see what actions can be taken and we want to make sure that we're in the strongest available position to defend ourselves and also our journalists," Ms Buttrose said.

The ABC was raided last Wednesday by police with a search warrant to seize documents and e-mails over stories broadcast in 2017.

The stories were based on leaked confidential Department of Defence papers alleging that Australian soldiers may have killed unarmed men and children in Afghanistan.

The eight-hour raid on the ABC followed a seven-hour raid a day earlier on the Canberra home of NewsCorp Australia reporter Annika Smethurst.

She reported for the Sunday Telegraph last year on secret government proposals to increase powers of spy agencies to target Australians.

The raids sparked a heated political debate over press freedom and protections for journalists in Australia.

Ms Buttrose said she will meet Prime Minister Scott Morrison during the week to press her concerns.

Mr Morrison has said the Federal Police operate independently and he supports press freedom, but "no one is above the law".