Media organisations across the country, including The Daily Advertiser, have joined forces to galvanise audiences to call for the protection of public interest journalism.
Organisers of the Your Right To Know campaign said the move follows more than 75 laws being introduced in the past two decades, which criminalise journalism and penalise whistleblowing.
The campaign began on Monday, when multiple daily newspapers - including The Daily Advertiser - censored their front pages. Now, Wagga's leaders have joined the conversation.
Fine line between 'right to know' and 'right to privacy'
Former journalist and Wagga mayor Greg Conkey said he supports the campaign, but acknowledged the fragility of balance.
"I cringe when I see raids on the homes of journalists and media offices," he said.
Cr Conkey said that there is a fine line between the "right to know" and "commercial in confidence" as far as local government is concerned.
"We need to protect people providing services and the right to privacy and look at what is the best in terms of national security," he said.
Cr Conkey said there should be protections in place for public servants who exposed any lies or wrongdoing committed by the government.
"We should all be concerned over plans to expand the secret surveillance of Australians."
"I am concerned they are looking at further extending those secrets surveillance, and in those particular case whistleblowers need to be supported."
Cr Conkey said national security should be a priority, but laws in place already protect it, and it should be used as an excuse to muzzle the media.
"I don't always agree with the way media handles various stories, but I protect the media's right to publish the stories.
"Sometimes they take a different slant that I would take, but that is freedom of the press, and we need to accept the good and the bad."
What does the Deputy Prime Minister say?
Deputy Prime Minister, and Member for the Riverina, Michael McCormack said the federal government was committed to freedom of the press and keeping Australians safe.
"The freedom to publish has always been subject to other considerations such as laws regarding national security, defamation and a defendant's right to a fair trial," he said.
"The government is always open to further improvements of these laws which is why we referred this issue to the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security."
Mr McCormack said the joint committee had held four public meetings, received 61 submissions and would hand down its report on November 28.
He added the Attorney-General issued a direction to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions, which would require his consent to be sought before a journalist could be prosecuted for a range of offences.
The Minister for Home Affairs has issued a direction to the Australian Federal Police that the AFP should consider the importance of a free press in its decision making, he said.
Mr McCormack said it is also important to note the government has recognised the freedom of the press in legislation it has passed in recent years.
"The new secrecy offences passed last year include substantially stronger media defences than the old offences which are in part the subject of the current investigations," he said.
"There are clear rules and protections in place to support freedom of the press and the government will continue to make appropriate legislative provision so journalists are able to report on matters in the public interest."
Journalists are 'crucial to democracy'
Wagga MP Joe McGirr said as Australia does not have a bill of rights or media freedom built into the constitution, the nation's journalists are at a higher risk than other countries.
He added that he does not support anything that comprises national security, but he is concerned that laws have eroded the ability of the media and whistleblowers to hold governments and bureaucracies to account.
"Everyone accepts that national security should be kept intact," he said.
"That should never be an excuse to hide government wrongdoing, in that respect whistleblowers are important.
"We rely on the media for accountability of the government and rely on people speaking out, but any discouragement of that needs to be closely looked at."
Dr McGirr said it was important to note that he did not encourage people with vexatious claims or vendettas.
"We have learnt through many years that accountability is weakened when the media is not active," he said.
"As a former bureaucrat subjected to criticism by the media, I still believe that large government and bureaucracies should be held to account."
The Your Right To Know campaign states there are thousands of complaints made every year about our elderly in aged care homes being abused, neglected and chemically restrained, but the government will not release which facilities because of the 'privacy' of owners.
Dr McGirr said that if an institution or home has a history of neglect and abuse, coupled with a failure to rectify the problems, the government should consider releasing that information.