UK

2014

Attacks on the Press   |   UK

Attacks on the Press in 2013: United Kingdom

The United Kingdom's tradition of an unfettered news media was marred by several developments in 2013. Parliamentary debate over recommendations from the 2012 Leveson Inquiry to address unethical behavior by media concluded with the creation of a royal charter that critics feared would enable political interference in press regulation and set a bad example for oppressive governments worldwide. A counterproposal by several newspaper leaders giving more power to the industry was rejected by the government, but publishers stalled execution of the official plan by creating a "tough" independent regulator. Though a bill to give police and security services greater ability to monitor Internet use—labeled the "snooper's charter" by its critics—was shelved, there were repeated revelations of mass surveillance by the U.S. and U.K. governments. The destruction of Guardian hard drives, the detention of David Miranda (who assisted the newspaper's coverage of documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden) and a parliamentary grilling of Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger raised concerns internationally over intimidation of the press. Several journalists received threats from sectarian groups in Northern Ireland, and the 12-year-old unsolved murder of crime reporter Martin O'Hagan was set back when the prosecution announced that testimony of a key witness could not serve as evidence. In a positive development, the long-awaited Defamation Act reforming the U.K.'s plaintiff-friendly libel laws came into being.

February 12, 2014 1:16 AM ET

Blog   |   Internet, UK, USA

Media surveillance and 'the day we fight back'

Today, a broad coalition of technology companies, human rights organizations, political groups, and others will take to the Web and to the streets to protest mass surveillance. The mobilization, known as "The Day We Fight Back," honors activist and technologist Aaron Swartz, who passed away just over a year ago. Throughout the day, the campaign will encourage individuals to contact their representatives, pressure their employers, and march for an end to government surveillance practices that sweep up huge amounts of data, often indiscriminately.

Statements   |   UK, USA

CPJ troubled by report GCHQ targeted journalists

San Francisco, February 7, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply troubled by a report that a potential operation by the British intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) involved covert surveillance of reporters' communications. GCHQ sought to use journalists to pass both information and disinformation to intelligence targets, according to documents taken from the National Security Agency by Edward Snowden and obtained by NBC News.

2014

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