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Neil Mitchell finds himself in a debate about public interest journalism with top terror cop

The head of Victoria’s counter-terrorism unit says media coverage of a bomb plot targeting Queen Victoria Market is “concerning”, prompting a debate about public interest.

Neil Mitchell found himself asking Assistant Commissioner Ross Guenther whether the bomb plot or Herald Sun article was more “alarming” in an exchange about the report this morning.

Mr Guenther: Of course it alarms us when articles appear such as this on the front page of one of our more popular newspapers.

Neil Mitchell: I’m sorry, is the article concerning you or the threats?

Mr Guenther: Well, I think both, to be honest. The article itself will obviously cause concern.

Neil Mitchell: But it’s not wrong, is it?

Mr Guenther: The conversations are not unusual, Neil. These conversations go on across jihadi networks on a very very regular basis and have done since the caliphate … and will continue to go on.

“I’m not saying it’s not in the public interest, but there’s a way in which this can be portrayed,” Mr Guenther said.

“My concern is that anything that impacts on Victorians going to where they wish to go safely is a big concern for me, so I want to limit that where I can.”

Mr Guenther said there was no immediate threat to safety.

Click PLAY for full interview

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