Michael Cameron and Peter Timmins have been awarded 2017 Press Freedom Medals in Sydney recognising their contribution to "a free and open society".
Mr Cameron is the national editorial counsel for News Corp Australia who has opposed numerous suppression orders while advocating for a transparent and open justice system.
He started out writing copy for The Herald Sun back in the 1980s and spent half his career as a journalist.
But as a result of "pushing the envelope" as a reporter, he developed an interest in law, eventually becoming the in-house legal counsel for News Corp in 2013.
The team has now grown to six lawyers.
Mr Cameron, an advocate of press freedom, believes Australia's defamation laws are too harsh and outdated.
"Criminal defamation is still on the books in Australia which is pretty unusual when countries like Zimbabwe got rid of criminal defamation years ago," he told AAP at the awards ceremony.
"We are the only country in the world where you can be sued for an internet publication that was made 20 years ago."
Mr Timmins is a leading expert on freedom of information policy and a long-term advocate for increased transparency within government.
He believes too often the federal government is secretive with documents that are of public interest.
As an example, he said Attorney-General George Brandis' refusal to release his appointments diary was wrong.
"He probably cost the taxpayers thousands of dollars in trying to resist this sort of initiative."
Mr Timmins runs a blog called Open and Shut and leads the Australian Open Government Network.
This year is the second time the Australian Press Council has opened up the awards to people outside the council.
The medals were awarded on Friday at a ceremony attended by journalists and other industry figures.