Sunday, November 3, 2013

70 human rights organizations critical of UK press crackdown following disclosure of widespread surveillance by British government

David Cameron
From the Guardian newspaper: "The open letter to the prime minister, which was organised by Article 19 in the UK and is signed by groups from the US to Malaysia and Israel, says the British government response has damaged the country's longstanding reputation for freedom of expression and a free press."
     From the letter:
We are alarmed at the way in which the UK government has reacted, using national security legislation against those who have helped bring this public interest information to global attention. We are concerned about:
  • The use of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 to detain the Brazilian media worker, David Miranda on 18 August 2013 at London Heathrow Airport. Miranda was carrying journalistic material on behalf of the UK's Guardian newspaper and is the partner of the journalist, Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story of mass surveillance of digital communications by the UK and USA
  • The sustained pressure against the UK's Guardian newspaper for reporting the disclosures of whistleblower, Edward Snowden, including sending officials to force the Guardian to destroy hard drives allegedly containing information from Snowden
  • Your call on 16 October 2013 for a House of Commons Select Committee to review whether the Guardian has damaged national security by publishing material provided by Edward Snowden, and a subsequent announcement that the review will be conducted by the Home Affairs Select Committee as part of their inquiry into anti-terrorism.
We believe these actions clearly violate the right to freedom of expression, which is protected under British, European and international law. Under such laws, the right to freedom of expression includes the protection of both journalists, and those that assist them in the course of their vital work.

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