Politicians have added their voices to a chorus of Australia's media outlets united in a massive campaign to warn against growing censorship and attacks on press freedom by the federal government.
In the meantime, the Australian Federal Police are reviewing handling of sensitive investigations, following raids on two media organisations.
The nation's major commercial and public media companies, including Nine and News Corp, are warning against creeping laws that allow elected governments to cover-up scandals and hide or restrict information.
The front pages of the major newspapers on Monday replicated illustrations of a heavily redacted government document, alongside an advertising campaign challenging laws that effectively criminalise journalism and whistleblowing.
They warn federal and other governments are pursuing restrictions on news reporting, asking "when government keeps the truth from you, what are they covering up?".
Just weeks after the May federal election, federal police officers raided News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst's home over a national security story she had written more than a year earlier.
The next day, police raided ABC offices about another national security story two journalists had written two years earlier.
The raids made international news, but so far none of the journalists involved has been told whether or not they will face jail time for reporting in the public interest.
New AFP head Reece Kershaw wants to examine the processes around unauthorised disclosures, parliamentary privilege, espionage, foreign interference and war crimes.
"Police independence and freedom of the press are both fundamental pillars that coexist in our democracy," he told a Senate committee in Canberra on Monday.
"I strongly believe in these two pillars, and this is the approach I intend to take."
Labor leader Anthony Albanese has said he would back the reforms proposed by the media bosses, including improved freedom of information laws.
"Can I say very clearly journalism is not a crime," Mr Albanese said.
"It seems to me that we need to not take freedom of the press for granted."
However he backed existing defamation laws, which he noted he had never used in court, as a "good constraint" to ensure accuracy in reporting.
New research reveals 87 per cent of Australians value a free and transparent democracy where the public is kept informed - but just 37 per cent believe this is happening in Australia today.
Some 88 per cent of Australians want stronger protections for whistleblowers who play a vital role in calling out wrongdoing in society.
And more than three-quarters believe journalists should be protected from prosecution when reporting in the public interest.
"This secrecy, this overreach from the government is not just an attack from the media or whistleblowers, it's an attack on every Australian," Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.
The media companies want law changes so journalists don't fear imprisonment for doing their jobs and stronger protections for whistleblowers.
More than 60 new laws have been put in place over the past 20 years, which media companies say effectively criminalises journalism and penalises whistleblowing.
ABC managing director David Anderson said Australia was at risk of becoming the "world's most secretive democracy".
Australian Associated Press