UK

2013


Blog   |   UK

A chill over British press

A prime minister says a newspaper has damaged national security and calls for its editor to be brought before Parliament; his government tells the same paper there has been "enough" debate on an issue and sends its security officials into the paper's offices to smash discs containing journalistic material; lawmakers call for the editor's prosecution and accuse the paper of treason; the paper is forced to spirit its stories out of the country to ensure publication overseas.

Blog   |   UK, USA

British journalists concerned by regulation, hostile climate

As Alan Rusbridger appears Tuesday before the Home Affairs committee of the U.K. Parliament to give evidence regarding the Guardian's coverage of surveillance activities by the U.S. and U.K. governments, British journalists and analysts say that newspaper's legal troubles are worrying in large part because they come against the backdrop of increased regulation and scrutiny of the wider industry.

Statements   |   UK

CPJ urges UK political parties to reconsider royal charter

New York, October 28, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists today called on Britain's three main political parties to reconsider a royal charter that would establish a new press regulator in the United Kingdom. The Privy Council, the assembly that formally advises the Queen, is scheduled to review on Wednesday the proposed charter agreed by the three parties.

October 28, 2013 3:35 PM ET

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Statements   |   UK

CPJ concerned about Cameron's Guardian comments

New York, October 16, 2013--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron's statement today in which he urged members of parliament to investigate whether the Guardian had broken the law or damaged national security by publishing the NSA files.

Blog   |   Brazil, UK, USA

Greenwald wants to return to US, but not yet

Glenn Greenwald would like to go home to the United States, at least for a visit. But the Guardian journalist and blogger is afraid to do so. He still has material and unpublished stories from his contacts with fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden that he believes U.S. authorities would love to get their hands on.  The nine-hour detention and interrogation of Greenwald's Brazilian partner David Miranda by British security services at London's Heathrow airport in August has only compounded his fears.

Blog   |   UK, USA

Solidarity in the face of surveillance

One way for journalists to build more secure newsrooms and safer networks would be for more of them to learn and practice digital hygiene and information security. But that's not enough. We also need journalists to stand together across borders, not just as an industry, but as a community, against government surveillance.

The Obama administration, in its attempt to control government leaks, has issued subpoenas and conducted unprecedented surveillance of journalists, as CPJ documented in a report this week. But the United States is hardly the only democratic nation that has been trying to unveil reporters' sources and other professional secrets.

Letters   |   UK

Cameron should probe Miranda detention, return data

Dear Prime Minister David Cameron: The U.K.'s use of anti-terror laws to seize journalistic material from David Miranda, partner and assistant to Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, is deeply troubling and not in keeping with the U.K's historic commitment to press freedom. We call on you to launch a thorough and transparent investigation and to ensure that his confiscated equipment and data are returned at once.

Blog   |   Internet, UK

Groups call for EU action against mass surveillance

Recent revelations of American and British mass surveillance of digital communications have triggered an intense mobilization of European free speech and civil liberties organizations, which have launched an online petition calling on leaders of the European Union to halt the practice. The #dontspyonme campaign was presented by Index on Censorship, an independent, British, free speech nonprofit, at an event in London on July 25. It calls on EU heads of government "to clearly and unambiguously state their opposition to all systems of mass surveillance" including that conducted by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) and similar European agencies.

Blog   |   Internet, UK

In Woolwich aftermath, UK revives 'snooper's charter'

Britain's Government Communications Headquarters, where some digital monitoring takes place. (Reuters)

Key elements of the British Communications Data Bill, known as the "snooper's charter" by its critics, have returned to the political agenda in the month since two suspected jihadis fatally stabbed Lee Rigby, a 23-year-old soldier, in London's southeast Woolwich district. The bill, which would have given police and security services greater ability to monitor Internet use, had been abandoned after the Liberal Democrats, Prime Minister's David Cameron's junior partners, cited privacy concerns and struck it from the government's annual legislative agenda.

June 20, 2013 2:38 PM ET

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Blog   |   Pakistan, UK

In London, echoes of Pakistan's deadly press policies

Among the more 200,000 Pakistanis living in London is Altaf Hussain, leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. This powerful political party is widely thought to be behind the murder of reporter Wali Khan Babar, a rising star at Geo TV who was shot dead in Karachi in 2011. His coverage focused on politically sensitive topics such as extortion, targeted killings, electricity thefts, land-grabbing, and riots.

Blog   |   UK

Threats to Northern Irish journalists on the rise

A burnt out car blocks Dee Street in east Belfast in January. Threats against journalists have increased since a wave of protests early this year. (Reuters/Cathal McNaughton)

The Police Service of Northern Ireland has informed a Belfast-based reporter that dissident republican groups, opposed to the peace process, have issued a death threat against her, the British National Union of Journalists said this week. The threat came after the journalist published a story in a local Sunday newspaper claiming an Irish republican group was protecting two alleged pedophiles in its ranks, according to the Guardian. The National Union of Journalists has demanded the death threat to be withdrawn.

Blog   |   UK

In revolt, freelancers establish Frontline Freelance Register

Finally, there is an organization for freelancers run by freelancers, and it could not come at a more opportune time. As anyone who has been one knows, being a freelance conflict reporter, in particular, can be tricky business.

Blog   |   UK

Responding to Hacked Off

Some years back during a visit to the Gambia--the West African nation ruled by a thin-skinned and mercurial president, Yahya Jammeh--I holed up in the sweltering Interior Ministry and pressed officials to release imprisoned journalists and ease up on the country's brutal media crackdown. The officials resisted, arguing that the press in Gambia was "reckless and irresponsible," that it made unfounded accusations, published falsehoods, and destroyed people's lives, and therefore the government had no choice but to step in and impose order and regulation.

May 1, 2013 12:19 PM ET

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Letters   |   UK

UK urged to reconsider post-Leveson media proposals

Dear Prime Minister Cameron: You recently spoke out in defense of press freedom in Africa by raising the case of an imprisoned Somali journalist when you met with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The journalist was subsequently released. The moral authority of a British prime minister to mount such a defense stems in part from Britain's history of nearly 300 years without government regulation of the press.

Blog   |   UK

In UK, medieval tactics may save modern media

A man reads a newspaper article about Lord Justice Brian Leveson's report on media practices in central London November 29, 2012. (Reuters/Olivia Harris)

The long-awaited reform of libel laws in the United Kingdom skirted with collapse this week due to political infighting in the aftermath of the Leveson report on media ethics--the public inquiry that resulted from the News Corp. phone-hacking scandal. With that disaster narrowly averted, attention has turned to what may turn out to be a very British solution to the question of how to shape the post-Leveson world.

February 28, 2013 11:25 AM ET

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Attacks on the Press   |   UK

Attacks on the Press in 2012: United Kingdom

The Leveson inquiry, begun in 2011 after revelations of phone-hacking and other ethical lapses by the press, drew to a close with the issuance of a lengthy report that proposed the creation of an independent regulatory body backed by statute. Critics, including CPJ, warned that statutory regulation would infringe on press freedom; Prime Minister David Cameron urged instead that the industry strengthen self-regulation. Some progress was made toward the reform of libel laws, which are highly unfavorable to journalists because they allow for “libel tourism,” the practice of filing claims based on minimum circulation within the United Kingdom even when plaintiffs and defendants are not based there. Libel legislation introduced in May would limit long and costly proceedings and make it easier for frivolous cases to be quickly dismissed. Press freedom advocates said such reform would be an important step forward, but urged lawmakers to strengthen public-interest defense and protect Internet service providers. The measure was pending in the House of Lords in late year. In June, the Home Office proposed a measure to increase government surveillance of all online communications. The proposal met with strong criticism--detractors called it the “snooper’s charter”--and a Parliamentary review committee dismissed it as excessive. The government sought to allow Sweden to extradite Julian Assange for questioning in an alleged assault, prompting the WikiLeaks founder to take refuge in the Ecuadoran Embassy in London. One journalist in Belfast was threatened in 2012, and the 11-year-old murder of Irish reporter Martin O’Hagen remained unsolved.

February 14, 2013 12:05 AM ET

Blog   |   Security, Syria, UK

In Syria, the quandary of freelance news coverage

As Syria becomes riskier for both staff and freelance journalists, news organizations are more reliant on images from citizen journalists. An example is this image showing devastation in Aleppo, which was taken by the Aleppo Media Center and transmitted by The Associated Press on Sunday. (AP/Aleppo Media Center)

Forces on all sides of the Syrian conflict that have tried to censor news coverage through violence have won a round. By sharply increasing the risk for reporters covering the civil war they have forced news organizations to think twice before sending their staff to the battlefields. In a worrying development they even have led a leading UK newspaper, the Sunday Times, for which Marie Colvin was on assignment when she was killed last year in Homs, to refuse photographs submitted by freelancers.

February 6, 2013 10:07 AM ET

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Blog   |   UK

Setback in O'Hagan murder must not mean case closed

Family, friends, and fellow journalists follow the funeral of Martin O'Hagan from his home in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, on October 1, 2001. (Reuters/Paul McErlane)

More than 11 years have passed since investigative journalist Martin O'Hagan was murdered near his home in Lurgan, Northern Ireland, and the case has not been solved. Last week Northern Ireland's public prosecutor announced a major setback to the case that has colleagues worried it never will be. 

February 1, 2013 2:54 PM ET

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Letters   |   Somalia, UK

UK should press Somalia on journalist's jailing, murders

Dear Prime Minister Cameron: In anticipation of your meeting with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud next week, we would like to bring to your attention recent actions taken by the Somali government, as well as the increasing number of unsolved journalist murders in the country.

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