Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Will US condemn UK for using terrorism laws to suppress journalism?

with one comment

As Trevor Timm points out in his post on Boing Boing, the US does not hesitate to condemn governments that use overly-broad laws regarding terrorism to punish journalists simply for reporting what is happening. But when the UK does it, will the US speak up? The post begins:

In a disturbing ruling for democracy, a lower court in United Kingdom announced today that the detainment of journalist Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda was lawful under the Terrorism Act, despite the fact that the UK government knewMiranda never was a terrorist. This disgraceful opinion equates acts of journalism with terrorism and puts the UK on par with some of the world’s most repressive regimes. Miranda has vowed to appeal the ruling.

Glenn Greenwald has much more on what this means for press freedom, but I’d like to expand on one particular point:

Over the past several years, the US State Department has publicly criticized several governments for using overly-broad terrorism laws against journalists and has even claimed its their policy to oppose “misus[ing] terrorism laws to prosecute and imprison journalists.” As we pointed out a couple months ago, they have criticized Turkey, Ethiopia, Morocco, and Burundi all within the past year.

Just last week, the State Department harshly criticized Egypt for detaining over twentyAl-Jazeera journalists and charging them under the regime’s terrorism statute. A State Department spokesman said, Egypt’s “targeting of journalists and others on spurious claims are wrong and demonstrates an egregious disregard for the protection of basic rights and freedoms.” She continued: “any journalist, regardless of affiliation, must not be targets of violence, intimidation or politicized legal action. They must be protected and permitted to freely do their jobs in Egypt.”

Will the US State Department condemn very similar behavior by one of its closest allies, the United Kingdom? Sadly, in November when the UK first made its argument in court, the State Department refused to comment when asked about its stance by the Guardian‘s Paul Lewis. Now that a court has ruled in the UK’s government favor, it’s time for the State Department to speak out.

With the ruling, the UK government has vastly widened the definition of terrorism to include ensnare people who have not committed violence, who have no intention to commit violence, and who aren’t even associated with people who intend to commit violence. The lower court essentially agreed with the government’s warped definition it put forth in court documents in November: . . .

Continue reading. The interpretation the UK government offers is Orwellian in its deliberate effort to crush journalists.

Written by LeisureGuy

23 February 2015 at 11:48 am

One Response

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  1. Reblogged this on Brian By Experience.

    Brian Dead Rift Webb

    23 February 2015 at 10:40 pm

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