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)

Blog   |   UK

UK's proposed Espionage Act will treat journalists like spies

Theresa May, pictured in Brussels in March 2016. Her government is proposing an Espionage Act under which journalists who obtain leaked information could face lengthy prison sentences. (AP/Virginia Mayo,File)

Journalists in Britain are becoming increasingly alarmed by the government's apparent determination to prevent them from fulfilling their mission to hold power to account. The latest manifestation of this assault on civil liberties is the so-called Espionage Act. If passed by parliament, it could lead to journalists who obtain leaked information, along with the whistle blowers who provide it to them, serving lengthy prison sentences.

Alerts   |   UK

UK police monitored calls of Daily Mirror and Northern Echo journalists

New York, January 13, 2017--U.K. police used surveillance powers to monitor the phone calls of three journalists to try to reveal their sources in two separate stories, according to news reports.

Blog   |   UK

UK's Section 40 press law would curb independent, investigative journalism

Labour MP Chris Bryant holds copies of the Leveson Report into press ethics in 2012, which led to the creation of Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act. A consultation on enacting the restrictive legislation, which came about as a result of the inquiry, ends January 10. (AFP/Justin Tallis)

British journalists say the future of independent and investigative journalism in the U.K. is at stake, as a deadline for public consultation on press regulation ends tomorrow. If it is implemented, Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 would leave news outlets not signed up to an official press regulator liable for the legal costs of both sides in any libel or privacy court case--even if the outlet won.

Attacks on the Press   |   Security, UK, Uganda

Double Exposure

When it comes to abusive readers' comments and tweets from Internet trolls, Katherine O'Donnell has heard it all. For years, O'Donnell, who is night editor of the Scottish edition of the U.K.'s The Times, has borne the brunt of personal attacks, including about her gender, from online trolls who take umbrage at articles in her newspaper.

Attacks on the Press   |   Internet, Security, UK, USA

Why a Troll Trolls

"Yeah... I went too far," he said, which by most accounts would be an understatement.

Among the Twitter comments this Internet troll posted to or about a female writer and activist were:

"Rape her nice ass."

"I will find you."

"The police will do nothing."

The man, who agreed to be interviewed only under a pseudonym--we'll call him Jim--said he did not start off with the intention of menacing anyone. Yet it is hard to imagine a public milieu where an individual might consider casually uttering such words--to a stranger no less.

Blog   |   Belgium, France, Germany, Internet, Luxembourg, Spain, UK

EU rulings on whistleblowers and right-to-be-forgotten laws puts press freedom at risk

The EU flag hangs in the European Parliament in Strasbourg. A series of votes on legislation could impact journalists in member states. (AFP/Patrick Hertzog)

European journalists were reminded today that their freedom to report is not only determined by national laws, but increasingly by European institutions. Today, after years of political battle, the European Parliament adopted the Passenger Name Record directive, the Data Protection Package, and the Trade Secrets Protection Act. The stakes were immense and the debates long and heated, leading to dissent and divisions within many political groups-and campaigns about the potential impact from journalists.

Alerts   |   Indonesia, UK

Two British journalists convicted in Indonesia over visa violations

Neil Bonner and Rebecca Prosser, center, in court in Indonesia in October. The British filmmakers were sentenced for visa violations on November 3. (Reuters/Beawiharta)

New York, November 3, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the conviction of British filmmakers Neil Bonner and Rebecca Prosser who, according to reports, were sentenced to two and a half month in prison in Indonesia today. The conviction represents a failure of the government to reverse its long-standing anti-media policies.

November 3, 2015 1:29 PM ET

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Blog   |   UK

As police seize Newsnight laptop, concerns grow at reach of UK counter-terrorism measures

For journalists investigating jihadist networks, the UK is proving to be no safe haven. British police used special powers under the Terrorism Act 2000 in August to seize the laptop of Secunder Kermani, a reporter for BBC Two's flagship news show "Newsnight," according to reports. "They required the BBC to hand over communication between the BBC journalist and a man in Syria who publicly identified himself as an [Islamic State] member," BBC spokeswoman said today.

Alerts   |   Indonesia, UK

Two British filmmakers on trial in Indonesia over visa regulations

Neil Bonner and Rebecca Prosser are escorted into court in Indonesia on October 22. The British filmmakers are on trial for working without a journalist visa. (AFP/Iklil Faiz)

New York, October 22, 2015--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned by the continued detention and trial of two British filmmakers who have been held in Indonesia since May 28. They are being held with the general prison population in a provincial jail in Batam, according to family members.

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
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