Avi Yemini loses fight for PRESS FREEDOM in Victoria

The Victorian Supreme Court has upheld a decision to refuse Rebel News reporter Avi Yemini a parliamentary media pass

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Three parliamentary officers rejected the Rebel News Australian bureau chief’s application to access both houses of state parliament as a journalist last year.

Victoria parliament’s Serjeant-At-Arms had refused to give reasons for the decision to offer passes to other journalists but not Yemini.

Today Justice Tim Ginnane dismissed an appeal against the decision.

He ruled that the Rebel News journalist had not proved his application was rejected by someone acting beyond their powers or in error.

"That decision was an exercise of parliament's privilege to control access to the parliamentary precincts and the decision was within the exclusive cognisance or jurisdiction of parliament," Justice Ginnane wrote in his decision.

Lawyers for the parliamentary officers who denied Yemini a press pass had told the court that a pass was a privilege, not a right or an entitlement.

"The media accreditation scheme is not created by statute, nor resolution of the houses, it is an exercise of that privilege which has existed from ancient times," Justice Ginnane wrote.

"I conclude that this proceeding is not justiciable, because it falls within the exclusive cognisance of the Parliament of Victoria as it involves the exercise of the privilege to control access to parliamentary precincts."

This is not the first time politicians have blocked Yemini from reporting news.

Yemini was famously removed from New Zealand after travelling there to report on anti-government protests earlier this year.

Documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws revealed collusion among government officials, mainstream media, and law enforcement officers to deny Yemini a visa because they feared his reporting would “incite and agitate people with opposing views”.

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