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)

Reports   |   Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, UK

Balancing Act

Press freedom at risk as EU struggles to match action with values

The European Union strives to be a global leader in press freedom but faces challenges from member states that have criminal defamation and blasphemy laws, and have introduced counterterrorism measures, including mass surveillance. The EU has made press freedom imperative in negotiating with candidate countries, but has been accused of failing to take strong action when member states renege on their press freedom commitments. Journalists working in the region are also affected by EU laws and policies, such as the trade secrets directive and access to information regulations. A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists

September 29, 2015 4:00 AM ET

Reports   |   Azerbaijan, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, UK

Balancing Act


The European Union describes itself as a model for press freedom and an exemplary global power. Although many of its 28 member states feature at the top of international press freedom rankings, there are significant challenges that undermine press freedom and new threats are emerging.

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


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.

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