Canberra : The Australian Parliament on Wednesday passed a raft of counterterrorism laws that extend secret service powers despite concerns about its impact on press freedom, reports AP.

  The National Security Legislation Amendment Bill gives greater search and surveillance powers to the nation’s domestic spy agency, Australian Security Intelligence Organisation.

The bill is the first of three tranches of tough new counterterrorism laws designed to better equip security agencies to deal with extremist networks such as Islamic State.

The most contentious section of legislation passed by the House of Representatives carries a potential 10-year prison sentence for anyone who discloses information that relates to a “special intelligence operation.” The national journalists’ union, Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance, condemned the law as “an outrageous attack on press freedom in Australia.”

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