Earlier this month, the Australian Federal Police executed a search warrant on the Avid for Scandal offices. We were live at the scene, tweeting updates to the public. Here is a transcript of the events that unfolded.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 6:31pm
#BREAKING: AFP raid the Avid for Scandal headquarters in Sydney over a 2015 “story” published on the back page of LSJ. Is this the new normal?
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 6:38pm
We tell the head of the AFP that we’re extremely concerned about the apparent attacks on a free media, and also about the raid on our offices. He says not to confuse the issues. We haven’t.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 6:46pm
We’re on level 12 of Avid for Scandal’s offices. Our lawyers are discussing the warrant with three AFP officers. We reserve all rights. (This is a generalisation – as we don’t know if we have any specific rights to reserve.)
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 6:52pm
We ask if there is any connection to the recent raid on the ABC. AFP reply: “Obviously not – they’re a news organisation”.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 7:02pm
AFP hand over the warrant – it seeks documents related to the Afghan Files, our 2015 exposé on crochet patterns for colourful woollen blankets. The AFP say: “We’ll be taking material with us.” It must be cold outside.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 7:18pm
Six more AFP officers join us, identifying as “digital forensics experts”. A further 12 join, then another 23 or so. We’re not sure they appreciate we only have one computer.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 7:28pm
Currently in AFS’ Managing Director’s office on the 35th floor. I’d never met our MD before. Actually, I didn’t know we even had one. It’s pretty exciting. #raidperks #raidlife
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 7:37pm
The AFP have realised we’re live tweeting the raid and asked us to stop. We explain we’re only publishing live tweets as part of a one-pager in a monthly industry publication. The AFP generously skip the questions about the “live” aspect and says that’s ok.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 7:56pm
The AFP are now saying they want drafts of all our articles. This really worries us – our drafts often have typos, bits missing and aren’t funny. Not unlike our final versions, really.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 8:02pm
There’s a lull while the tech-heads do their thing. The AFP officers start talking about the LSJ features they like. We emphasise that we’re barely in the LSJ. They say they know.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 8:04pm
Retweeted LonelyHearts99: I don’t care what you say, but Kirsty made the wrong decision on the Bachelorette last night. Trent was a great guy and clearly loved her.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 8:09pm
The AFP is now going through all our files on a big screen, one by one. We yell “privilege!” as each document comes up. The AFP dismiss this, saying we’re just talking about our status in society. I guess we are.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 8:33pm
#BREAKING: 4,800 items have just been downloaded from the Avid for Scandal computer. The files are all pictures of knitted blankets but, you know, for any other organisation this would be quite serious.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 9:27pm
We ask why the AFP didn’t just issue subpoenas. They say they can’t subpoena a non-existent satirical media organisation. That doesn’t answer the question, but we thank them for including us in the collective noun “media”.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 10:18pm
We’re now on the 64th floor. Still unclear why we’ve been raided. We considered explaining that our story was in the public interest, but honestly, it was barely “of interest to the public.”
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 2:56am
The AFP are packing their gear and sealing documents in plastic bags. They ask if we have any complaints about the process. Everyone laughs then sits in awkward silence.
Avid for Scandal @Scandal’uS • 3:31am
There’s a bigger question here about when the Government will come after satire and not just news media. We will need to write some actual satire to test that question and that seems a way off yet. Better go now, phone is low from tweeting constantly through this raid. #raidlife