UK

British press face restrictions, surveillance

British Prime Minister David Cameron pledges to ban secure messaging platforms in a move that creates risk for journalists relying on encryption for protection. The pledge comes as authorities impose a series of restrictions on the British media. Powerful laws including the Terrorism Act and Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act are used to get around journalistic protections, and revelations published in January detail the interception by British intelligence agency GCHQ of messages between reporters and editors at news outlets in the U.K. in 2008.

Automatic encryption is safety by default
A Banksy mural on surveillance near GCHQ. (Reuters/Eddie Keogh)

Attacks on the Press   |   Canada, UK, USA

Surveillance forces journalists to think and act like spies

Graffiti attributed to the street artist Banksy is seen near the offices of Britain's eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ, in Cheltenham, England, on April 16, 2014. (Reuters/Eddie Keogh)

Once upon a time, a journalist never gave up a confidential source. When someone comes forward, anonymously, to inform the public, it's better to risk time incarcerated than give them up. This ethical responsibility was also a practical and professional necessity. If you promise anonymity, you're obliged to deliver. If you can't keep your word, who will trust you in the future? Sources go elsewhere and stories pass you by.

Statements   |   UK

UK police used anti-terror legislation to uncover journalists' sources

San Francisco, February 4, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about reports that police agencies in the United Kingdom made more than 600 applications under anti-terror legislation to uncover journalists' confidential sources in the past three years. Today's revelation in the Guardian, citing the interception of communications commissioner, Anthony May, comes amid criticism of Prime Minister David Cameron's pledge to make end-to-end encryption illegal in the U.K.

February 4, 2015 5:36 PM ET

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Blog   |   Internet, Security, UK

Classifying media and encryption as a threat is danger to press freedom

The U.K. prides itself on its commitment to free expression, but the latest revelations of surveillance of journalists and calls by Britain's Prime Minister, David Cameron, to ban secure messaging belie the country's drift toward a more restrictive environment for the press. The revelations further underscore the threat surveillance by Western democracies poses to journalism, a threat that prompted the Committee to Protect Journalists' Right to Report in the Digital Age campaign.

Statements   |   Syria, UK

Militant group must release kidnapped British journalist

September 18, 2014, New York--The Islamic State militant group released a video today that shows John Cantlie, a British freelance journalist kidnapped in Syria in 2012, making what he said would be the first of a series of statements, according to news reports. Cantlie's abduction in Syria nearly two years ago was not previously reported by CPJ and other groups at the request of his family.

Blog   |   Internet, UK

Rushed data legislation would give UK worrying surveillance powers

The British government's attempt to rush through a bill on data retention before the House of Commons summer recess next week has run into opposition--not from members across the aisle but from Internet companies, civil liberty defenders, and lawyers, who say the law would extend the authorities' already vast snooping capabilities.

Statements   |   Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK, USA

G-7 acknowledges post-2015 agenda should include governance, human rights

New York, June 5, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes the declaration today by leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrial nations that democratic governance and human rights should be integral to the post-2015 development agenda.  The United Nations is seeking agreement on a broad set of sustainable development objectives to replace the Millennium Development Goals, which expire in 2015 and which made no mention of political or civil rights. The new goals will provide a framework for donor aid and thus influence priorities for years to come.

Blog   |   Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Portugual, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK

EU underscores support of free expression, but slights access to information

A new document on freedom of expression and opinion, adopted May 12 by the 28 foreign ministers of the European Union, presses nearly all the right buttons. Drawing its inspiration from international human rights norms as well as from the EU's treaties and its charter of fundamental rights, the document reaffirms the role of freedom of opinion and expression as "an essential foundation for democracy, rule of law, peace, stability, sustainable inclusive development, and participation in public affairs." It also makes a strong case for free and independent journalism. The ministers committed the EU and member states to the defense of journalists' freedom and safety, and endorsed watchdog journalism as a decisive factor in "uncovering abuses of power, shining a light on corruption, and questioning received opinion."

Alerts   |   Afghanistan, Sweden, UK

British-Swedish journalist shot dead in Afghan capital

Nils Horner (AFP)

New York, March 11, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns today's fatal shooting of an international journalist in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, and calls on authorities to ensure the perpetrators are held responsible. The shooting comes amid mounting risks for foreigners in Kabul. 

Two unidentified men approached Nils Horner, 51, in Kabul's diplomatic district this morning, according to a New York Times report citing Col. Najibullah Samsour, a senior police official. One of the assailants shot Horner in the head at close range, and then both men fled the scene, the report said.

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