U2 frontman Bono has revealed his shock over the attacks on media freedom in Australia in the wake of AFP raids on journalists.
U2 frontman Bono has revealed his shock over the attacks on media freedom in Australia in the wake of AFP raids on journalists.

Bono stands with Aussie journos over press freedom

U2 frontman Bono was shocked to discover the attacks on media freedom in Australia in the wake of Australian Federal Police raids on journalists.

The singer and activist, who advocates for the eradication of poverty and preventable disease through the One Campaign, said the witch hunt for whistleblowers and intimidation of journalists reporting on controversial matters of national security was "dangerous".

"Truth is the bedrock … and journalists are its guardian angels," he said last week after their opening Australian concert in Brisbane.

U2 are making their way around Australia on the Joshua Tree tour. Picture: Jason Edwards
U2 are making their way around Australia on the Joshua Tree tour. Picture: Jason Edwards

 

The Irish supergroup are renowned for immersing themselves in the current political and social climates of the countries they tour.

Bono asked for more information about the Australian media's Right To Know campaign which seeks protection for journalists reporting on national security matters and reform of Freedom of Information and defamation laws.

He invoked the expression "may you live in interesting times" when reflecting on the fight against erosion of media freedom.

News Corp political editor Annika Smethurst was raided by the federal police. Picture: Kym Smith.
News Corp political editor Annika Smethurst was raided by the federal police. Picture: Kym Smith.

The band have also been closely following the bushfire emergency gripping Queensland and NSW as the tour makes its way to Sydney later this week as the threat to lives and property is expected to ramp up again because of worsening weather conditions.

"The way we live in one place, affects life in every other place,'' Bono said at the Brisbane concert. "None of us is really an island.

"From rising sea levels in one country to catastrophic fires in yours, big crisis, global crisis but we can put out these fires if we act together as one.''

The Joshua Tree is punctuated by several examples of the band's musical activism stretching across their four decade career.

The concert's opening salvo of songs includes Sunday Bloody Sunday about the Troubles in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and Pride (In The Name Of Love) dedicated to the memory of American civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King.

 

 

 

 

 

There is a poignant moment during their Joshua Tree concerts in Australia when they perform the album's final track, Mothers of the Disappeared.

It was written for the brave women in Chile and Argentina who sought to uncover the truth about their missing children, many believed to have been abducted, tortured and killed by death squads for being involved in anti-government protests.

While critics may have had a love/hate relationship with U2 over the years, Bono took the time to make an apology to a New Zealand journalist when they opened the Australasian leg of the Joshua Tree tour in Auckland on November 8.

The cheeky singer sent an email to critic David Cohen asking forgiveness for ridiculing his review of the Joshua Tree album more than 30 years ago and invited the writer to one of their Auckland concerts.

 

Bono of U2 performs at Marvel Stadium on November 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images.
Bono of U2 performs at Marvel Stadium on November 15, 2019 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images.

 

"It was a long time ago … 30 years … but you wrote a disparaging review of The Joshua Tree that I then used as a prop in our Love Town tour … I can't remember what I said … I'm sure it was meant to be funny, but wasn't … apologies," Bono wrote.

"Unlike your review, which was meant to be serious - and it was, even if snotty and youthful in its own way.

"If you're around 30 years later to witness that crap album … you will be very welcome tonight. And you don't have to like it this time around either for all its gospel brightness, it's a black beauty. "

U2 continue the Joshua Tree tour at the Adelaide Oval on Tuesday before two concerts at the SCG on Friday and Saturday and the final show at Perth's Optus Stadium on November 27.



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