Media helicopters must obtain permission and delay publishing livestream footage for 60 minutes under new orders from Victoria Police in an effort to control ongoing protests.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) today confirmed to 9News.com.au that Victoria Police had applied for a temporary restricted airspace order over Melbourne’s CBD, which has been granted.
As part of the restrictions, no aircraft are allowed within a three nautical mile radius or below 2500 feet of Melbourne’s CBD without permission from police.
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The restricted airspace is in place until September 26. CASA said the application was made in the interest of public safety.
Victoria Police said today that provision will be made to allow media outlets to operate aircraft within the airspace, but they must obtain permission from police and delay airing footage for at least an hour.
“As part of the conditions, pilots will need to obtain approval from Victoria Police airwing before taking off to ensure there are no safety risks,” a Victorian Police spokesperson said.
“Media outlets will also be required to delay publishing any livestream footage from the air by 60 minutes or at the conclusion of the operation.
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“This is because protestors were actively monitoring aerial livestreams, compromising the police operation and putting the safety of members at risk.”
Speaking to 3AW’s Heidi Murphy, Nine’s National Director of News and Current Affairs Darren Wick said the move by Victoria Police was “unprecedented”.
“Where the concern for us about this is that it was done without consultation. In the past, if police have sought our assistance during a siege or a bushfire in terms of chopper vision we’ve always talked it through and come up with a sensible decision,” Mr Wick told 3AW.
“We support Victoria Police 100 per cent. We respect the rule of the law and we support the actions in what they trying to do to control these protests.
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“But to restrict us from seeing what’s there – you can’t do that. They say democracy dies in darkness.
“We have to be able to see. We have to be able to show the public what is happening. We’re not a police state. It’s very unprecedented and it’s very uncomfortable the decision that has been made.”
The restricted airspace order comes as the protests in Melbourne enter a third day of demonstrations following a vaccine mandate for the construction industry, and a consequent two-week shutdown of the sector due to rising COVID-19 cases.Internet Explorer Channel Network