Barnaby Joyce has argued media freedom cuts both ways as Australia's media companies unite against growing censorship and attacks on journalism from the federal government.
The Nationals backbencher, whose personal life made headlines in 2017 over revelations he was expecting a baby with a former staffer, acknowledged a free press was vital for a functioning democracy.
But Mr Joyce said media freedom must be used responsibly.
"To get respect around the term public interest, you've got to act in the public interest," he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
"You can't say putting a private individual - a pregnant woman crossing the street - on your front page is in the public interest, which you did, and give yourself a Walkley for it."
Australian Associated Press