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Raided. Detained. Cancelled.

There always seems to be someone who doesn’t want a journalist to get a story out. Dictators stifling dissent. Governments protecting national security. Or the mob on social media  forcing journalists off the page or even out of their jobs.

Raided, Detained, Cancelled focuses on the most challenging moment in any journalist’s career: the moment when they might pay for a story legally, financially, professionally or even, in some cases, with their lives.

Join us for a series of free, live online conversations, hosted by JNI’s Lisa Main, featuring journalists with first-hand experiences of being raided, detained or cancelled. We will hear their stories and explore the reasons journalists are silenced, whether these efforts really work, and how journalists  in different contexts around the world respond.


This copy was updated on December 1, 2021.

Does the threat of cancel culture and social media abuse encourage media makers to self-censor?

And does cancel culture protect society from harm or starve it of diverse views and stories? 

Whether you call it mob justice, censorship from society, call out or cancel culture, it is something Australian cartoonist Michael Leunig says he has contended with in various ways over 50 years working for mastheads.



Dictators routinely jail journalists. But does it actually silence them? Or does it just embolden them to continue reporting on government incompetence, corruption, and the abuse of power?  

Meet reporters who have been arrested, often without trial. Were their principles tested? How did they remain defiant, and more importantly, keep working in the face of such grave risks? 

Nathan Maung was arrested and imprisoned in Myanmar in March 2021 alongside his colleague, producer Han Thar Nyein. At the time Nathan was working as the founding editor-in-chief of Kamayut Media, a news video streaming platform. Burmese-born Nathan was released from prison after three months and deported when military guards realised he was a US citizen. His colleague Han Thar is still detained in Insein Prison.

Okke Ornstein was detained in Panama in 2016 over a story he wrote alleging government corruption and fraud. Bizarrely, the criminal defamation conviction that saw him imprisoned happened four years earlier. Okke ran a news website called Bananama Republic and worked with Al Jazeera and Dutch public broadcaster NTR. He was pardoned five weeks into his 20-month sentence. Okke says his arrest confirmed “Panama protects the corrupt”.


How does a democracy balance an elected government’s responsibility to keep us safe, and the role of a free press to hold power to account? Who gets to decide what we should and shouldn’t know?

Annika Smethurst is state political editor at The Age newspaper in Melbourne. She is the former national political editor of the Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Herald Sun, and a regular on ABC’s Insiders and Sky News. Her 2020 essay On Secrets explores the impact of raids and the importance of press freedom. Annika has won several prestigious awards for political reporting and recently published a new book, The Accidental Prime Minister.

Dennis Richardson AC has served in some of Australia’s most senior security and foreign policy roles, including Secretary of the Department of Defence, Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Director-General of ASIO, Ambassador to the US and Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Bob Hawke. He led the Government’s review of the legal framework governing the National Intelligence Community (the Richardson Review) in 2018.