Australia's intelligence and security laws need to be looked at as a whole and with fresh eyes, media organisations have told an examination of the state of press freedom.
The media bosses say they have been ignored when they've raised concerns about the impact on journalism of laws proposed over the years.
And now the state of secrecy - represented by the police raids on the ABC's newsroom and the home of a News Corp reporter in June - has reached such a level that sources are getting spooked.
News Corp executive Campbell Reid and ABC representatives told a Senate committee they had previously made lengthy submissions on draft security legislation, with detailed alternative wording for clauses.
"It wasn't that we weren't speaking, it was that we weren't being listened to," Mr Reid told the hearing in Canberra on Friday.
"There is now an opportunity to go back and look at those laws, take a breath, fresh set of eyes and say actually, several of these go too far.
"And we have provided the amendments that could address that very quickly."
Press gallery reporter Chris Uhlmann noted Prime Minister Scott Morrison had built his political career on increasing secrecy around asylum seeker boat arrivals to "ludicrous levels".
He said public servants were now so paranoid about potential blowback from discussing their work that all conversations about policy had to go through ministerial offices, thus denying the public expert sources of information.
And Mr Reid said the commonwealth's standards around secrecy filtered down to local communities.
The journalist union's chief executive Paul Murphy said there had been a "tidal wave" of national security legislation over the past two decades accompanied by a culture of secrecy and the punishment of whistleblowers.
Many of these laws had been pushed through parliament very quickly.
"A number of our journalist members have told me since the police raids earlier this year that they've lost sources, that they've lost stories because (sources) clearly see the nature of those raids as being government agencies sending a message," Mr Murphy said.
ABC's news director Gaven Morris said there was an agreement with sources who came forward with information that was important to the public that reporters and media organisations would protect them.
"When you have police in your newsroom or police in your home, how can you make that promise?" he said.
But the media organisations agreed they weren't looking to be above the law.
Rather, they would like to see security laws crafted in a way that protected the role of journalism.
While it was possible there may be some rogue publishers or journalists, the vast majority of media outlets were bound by ethical codes and took national security implications very seriously, they told senators.
Australian Associated Press