Many newspapers in Australia self-censored their front pages today to protest against what they see as government censorship or at least intimidation. According to the BBC:

The protest is aimed at national security laws which journalists say have stifled reporting and created a "culture of secrecy" in Australia.

The government said it backed press freedom but "no one was above the law".

In June, police raids on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the home of a News Corp Australia journalist generated a huge backlash.

The media organisations said the raids had been conducted over articles which had relied on leaks from whistleblowers. One detailed allegations of war crimes, while the other reported an alleged attempt by a government agency to spy on Australian citizens. [...]

On Sunday, the Australian government reiterated it was possible that three journalists may face prosecution in the wake of the raids.

Are there some historically comparable events (meaning mass protest by the press) in other countries, particularly in other established democracies?

  • 1
    Isn't that normal? I mean, it's a job like any other, what makes you think that journalist cannot protest? In Italy, I can't reliably count the exact number of times, but there's a national full stop of journalists at least once a year. Newspaper are not printed at all, news transmissions are cut to the minimum and news websites are not updated. It's just a normal regular strike like any other, why should it be any different?
    – motoDrizzt
    Oct 21, 2019 at 21:15
  • @motoDrizzt: really? I didn't know. That would make a good answer with a minimum of sourcing. Oct 21, 2019 at 21:16
  • 1
    I could point to protests at local/regional levels in Spain, but since the scope was reduced and the actions were different I do not know if those would count. Also, my sources would be only in Spanish.
    – SJuan76
    Oct 21, 2019 at 21:46
  • 3
    Would the behaviour of The Economist in the UK count? In 1987, it reviewed "Spycatcher" by Peter Wright in all of its national editions apart from the UK one, where instead it ran a blank box headed by the text "In all but one country, our readers have on this page a review of 'Spycatcher,' a book by an ex-M.I.5-man, Peter Wright. The exception is Britain, where the book, and comment on it, have been banned. For our 420,000 readers there, this page is blank – and the law is an ass." - en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spycatcher
    – user16741
    Oct 21, 2019 at 23:05
  • Most of what the press does is activism of one kind or another; there have also been press strikes, but not very many since the switch to digital.
    – pjc50
    Oct 22, 2019 at 8:25

2 Answers 2


Well, journalism is a job like any other and at least in Europe every one has the right to strike. In Italy is quite common, and it can result in newspapers not being printed at all, news broadcasts not being broadcasted or being reduced to a 5 minutes thing, and websites not being updated.

It's hard to come up a specific source for it, and even more if you want it in English, so just a few random examples:

And it's plenty of those every year. As I said strike is a normal action allowed to every kind of worker, so there is no reason a journalist can't do it. In some cases it's a complete strike for the entire category, so there is no newspaper printed at all in the entire country, in some others is just one specific news firm (like the last two I posted)

To be noted anyway that there can be -and there are- many different reasons for a strike, and having Italy a strong recent history of unionism and category contracts -that is, a national template contract for a certain category of workers- most of the strikes are about the journalists disagreeing on their contracts, either the national category one or the one implemented by their editor.

As the question seems to focus mostly on protests against censorship, anyway, the one happened in July 2010, on the 9th, is -sort of about- that:


It's difficult to relay the exact facts, because in Italy partisanship is the cornerstone of society and it's hard to really know what is going on, but in short in July 2010 Italian journalists have protested against the introduction of a law that allow for a finer control of what can be published or not, mostly in relationship to secreted stuff during processes.

For example, let's say there is an important process related to mafia, and some people are under protection and there are some documents that must be kept secret, and an important boss phone calls are been intercepted but he must not know about it. The core of the protest of July is that journalists want to be able to bribe some official and then publish the name of the people under protection, the important documents and the transcripts of the interceptions, and this having no legal consequence on them, under the reasoning of "free press" and "the people have the right to know".


"Three Russian newspapers publish identical front page headlines to protest detention of investigative journalist"

This was back in June 2019, in protest of the handling of Ivan Golunov, a 36-year-old journalist known for exposing corruption among Moscow city officials, who was detained by police and accused of serious drug offences.

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