Hager fundraising goes global

NEIL RATLEY
Last updated 05:00 18/10/2014

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Another fundraising campaign has been launched for writer Nicky Hager’s legal battle against the police search and seizure of belongings from his house earlier this month.

Non-profit organisation the Freedom of the Press Foundation, based in the US, has thrown its support behind the Kiwi author.

The organisation says it is dedicated to helping support and defend public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government.

US security whistleblower Edward Snowden is listed on the organisation’s board of directors and it actively supports WikiLeaks.

Hager’s book Dirty Politics, a book based on emails and Facebook posts hacked from WhaleOil blogger Cameron Slater's computer alleged links between Prime Minister John Key's office, National politicians and party-linked figures, and Slater.

Slater laid a complaint with the police over the hacking of his communications, which were leaked online by the hacker who went by the name Rawshark, and posted from the Twitter account WhaleDump.

Police spent 10 hours searching Hager’s house earlier this month, and removed computers and related items under a search warrant as part of the "ongoing investigation into alleged hacking of Mr Slater's emails".

Hager said he anticipated a legal fight over access to the material, and expected pressure to reveal the identity of Rawshark.

Freedom of the Press Foundation co-founder Trevor Timm said, on the organisation’s website on Thursday, ‘‘the police raid on Hager’s house, seizing many of his family’s belongings and his reporting equipment was a flagrant violation of basic press freedom rights’’.

‘‘We are announcing a campaign to assist Hager in raising money for his legal defence,’’ Timm said.

New Zealand's treatment of Hager was ‘‘a classic case of intimidation and is exactly the type of government behaviour meant to chill journalism and prevent reporting from doing their job’’, he said.

Last night, nearly US$10,000 (NZ$12,500) had been raised by crowd-funding through the Freedom of the Press Foundation’s website.

The support from the Freedom of the Press Foundation is not the only source of cash flowing in for Hager’s anticipated  legal stoush.

A GiveaLittle fundraising page set up after the police raids has now topped more than $50,000.

Hager’s supporters said even if Hager's legal representation was conducted at no cost, there would still be thousands of dollars in costs, and any money raised above what was needed for legal fees would go to Hager's future investigative journalism work.

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