CPJ condemns U.K. calls for riot footage and restrictions

New York, August 11, 2011–The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron’s statement calling for broadcasters to immediately provide unedited footage and for measures restricting social networking as a means to stem ongoing riots in the country.

“Broadcasters must not be obliged to provide authorities with raw footage in the absence of any legal due process. Such demands directly endanger journalists and compromise their ability to report the news,” said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon. “Similarly, the possible blockage of social networking services currently under discussion would be a misguided and extreme measure. While it is the prime minister’s duty to ensure citizen safety, he must not subscribe to the idea that censorship is an effective deterrent to social unrest. Freedom of expression and information is a fundamental democratic principle, and we expect the U.K. to uphold these values in all instances.”