Edward Snowden: Saken fortsetter

Her er uttalelsene fra Reportere Uten Grenser og INDEX on Censorship ifm. Guardian-saken i London og arrestasjonen av samboeren til en Guardian-journalist som jobbet spesielt med Snowden-saken.  Samt World Association of Newspapers (WAN) appell til statsminister David Cameron.  Men først – nå griper også engelsk PEN inn i saken:

English PEN intervenes in Miranda case
27. August 2013

English PEN is intervening in the judicial review regarding David Miranda’s detention under the Terrorism Act on 18 August. Liberty and the NUJ are also joining the intervention, a procedure that permits concerned third parties to make submissions to the court. Other human rights organisations and media groups are also expected to take part.

David Miranda is the partner and colleague of Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the news of the NSA’s and GCHQ’s mass surveillance programmes in the Guardian, a story that has profound implications for our right to privacy and to freedom of expression, and is therefore a key concern for English PEN. Miranda was detained when travelling through Heathrow in transit to Brazil. His laptop, mobile, hard drive and memory sticks were seized, along with other personal property, and he was held for nine hours. Miranda is assisting Glenn Greenwald in his investigations into the extent of the UK’s and US’s surveillance operations.

The use of Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act to detain David Miranda and seize his property raises serious concerns about the protection of sources and confidential journalistic material – a cornerstone of press freedom that is recognised in English law and in our courts, along with the European Court of Human Rights and the Council of Europe. Police requests for access to journalistic material are usually subject to judicial oversight; the use of Schedule 7 in this instance therefore made it possible to bypass those protections.

In order to safeguard press freedom in the UK, it is essential to challenge the use of Schedule 7. The judicial review seeks a declaration that the actions of the police were unlawful and violated David Miranda’s rights under the European Convention on Human Rights, and a declaration that the use of Schedule 7 to detain Miranda and seize his materials was incompatible with fundamental human rights. Miranda’s lawyers are also demanding damages and the destruction of all data seized by the police.

There is a full hearing for an injunction on Friday 30 August. Although the court granted police permission to review the material in the context of national security last week, they have not been allowed to do so as part of a criminal investigation. The substantive judicial review is expected in the autumn.

Jo Glanville, director of English PEN said: ‘This is an extremely important case for freedom of expression and freedom of information in the UK. The protection of sources is a fundamental issue for press freedom, recognised by European and English courts. Bypassing judicial oversight is a serious infringement of those rights and not only undermines freedom of expression in the UK but around the world.’

For further information please call 020 7324 2535 or email jo@englishpen.org

26 August 2013
World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum have protested to Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom against the actions of government officials that led to the destruction of computer hard drives belonging to the Guardian newspaper last month.

In a letter to Mr Cameron, WAN-IFRA, the global organisation of the world’s press, called on the United Kingdom to reaffirm its commitment to press freedom and “respect the rights of journalists to protect their sources and to create the conditions necessary to ensure the press can continue its crucial role in maintaining free and fair societies, without government interference or intimidation”.

WAN-IFRA expressed its dismay at the government’s decision to pursue the threat of legal action should the Guardian not hand over or destroy computer hard drives, in a bid to prevent the publication of reports based on the leaked files supplied by National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

“I am afraid the United Kingdom is progressively losing its place as a world leader in freedom of expression and a free press”, said Vincent Peyrègne, CEO of WAN-IFRA. “That the government felt the need to threaten legal action to block reporting into issues of public interest is deeply distressing and will have a chilling effect on press freedom in the UK and beyond. This is especially pertinent given the information contained in the hard drives was stored elsewhere and destroying them was a symbolic gesture only”.

WAN-IFRA also expressed concern regarding the detention of David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has been instrumental in breaking the story on the NSA files, under the UK Terrorism Act of 2000. Mr Miranda had his personal electronic items confiscated and was held for an unprecedented nine-hours without charges being brought against him.

WAN-IFRA has seen an increase in the arrests of journalists under anti-terror legislation in recent years, particularly in countries such as Turkey and Ethiopia.

“It is extremely upsetting that the UK government has used anti-terrorism legislation to detain the partner of the Guardian journalist associated with the Snowden files”, Mr Peyrègne said. “WAN-IFRA regards this as a complete misuse of anti-terror legislation.”

“I am calling on the Prime Minister of the UK, in the strongest possible terms, to provide his assurance that the necessary inquiries will be made to ensure that any inference of association between journalism and terrorism is not part of official policy that puts the UK on the same level as Turkey and Ethiopia, whose governments misuse anti-terror legislation to silence critics”.

This most recent protest letter follows a letter to Mr Cameron in April 2013, regarding the proposed Royal Charter on Self Regulation of the Press and the serious questions that remain regarding the future direction of independent press regulation.

Reports suggest that since Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into press behaviour, as many as 59 journalists have been arrested under three separate police investigations. None have been convicted and many have spent months on police bail.

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum have protested to Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom against the actions of government officials that led to the destruction of computer hard drives belonging to the Guardian newspaper last month.

In a letter to Mr Cameron, WAN-IFRA, the global organisation of the world’s press, called on the United Kingdom to reaffirm its commitment to press freedom and “respect the rights of journalists to protect their sources and to create the conditions necessary to ensure the press can continue its crucial role in maintaining free and fair societies, without government interference or intimidation”.

WAN-IFRA expressed its dismay at the government’s decision to pursue the threat of legal action should the Guardian not hand over or destroy computer hard drives, in a bid to prevent the publication of reports based on the leaked files supplied by National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

“I am afraid the United Kingdom is progressively losing its place as a world leader in freedom of expression and a free press”, said Vincent Peyrègne, CEO of WAN-IFRA. “That the government felt the need to threaten legal action to block reporting into issues of public interest is deeply distressing and will have a chilling effect on press freedom in the UK and beyond. This is especially pertinent given the information contained in the hard drives was stored elsewhere and destroying them was a symbolic gesture only”.

WAN-IFRA also expressed concern regarding the detention of David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, who has been instrumental in breaking the story on the NSA files, under the UK Terrorism Act of 2000. Mr Miranda had his personal electronic items confiscated and was held for an unprecedented nine-hours without charges being brought against him.

WAN-IFRA has seen an increase in the arrests of journalists under anti-terror legislation in recent years, particularly in countries such as Turkey and Ethiopia.

“It is extremely upsetting that the UK government has used anti-terrorism legislation to detain the partner of the Guardian journalist associated with the Snowden files”, Mr Peyrègne said. “WAN-IFRA regards this as a complete misuse of anti-terror legislation.”

“I am calling on the Prime Minister of the UK, in the strongest possible terms, to provide his assurance that the necessary inquiries will be made to ensure that any inference of association between journalism and terrorism is not part of official policy that puts the UK on the same level as Turkey and Ethiopia, whose governments misuse anti-terror legislation to silence critics”.

This most recent protest letter follows a letter to Mr Cameron in April 2013, regarding the proposed Royal Charter on Self Regulation of the Press and the serious questions that remain regarding the future direction of independent press regulation.

Reports suggest that since Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry into press behaviour, as many as 59 journalists have been arrested under three separate police investigations. None have been convicted and many have spent months on police bail.

«Weekly update» fra INDEX on Censorship:
(23. august 2013)

ATTACKS ON MEDIA FREEDOM IN UK: The detention of David Miranda, partner of investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, under schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, has been seen by many as an attempt to intimidate those behind the NSA/Snowden revelations. Writer and broadcaster Bill Thompson called the Miranda detention a ‘defining point’ and commented that, ‘the word “terrorism” has been stripped of all meaning so that it can routinely be used to cover any activity that the state does not fully approve of’. Lawyer Dan Hyde noted that the act, ‘was never meant to take aim at journalism’ and argues that a dangerous precedent has been set.

In the wake of Miranda’s detention, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger revealed that following legal threats, the Guardian destroyed materials relating to the Snowden case under the watch of two GCHQ officials, despite the government knowing that copies of the material also existed in Brazil and the US. Index condemned both actions as attacks on free speech and called on the UK government to protect the freedom of the press. Listen to Padraig Reidy discussing events here.

EU leaders: Stop mass surveillance

STOP MASS SURVEILLANCE: The Snowden revelations about mass surveillance by the NSA and GCHQ are matters of public interest about which there needs to be an open debate. Index is calling on Europe’s Heads of Government to condemn mass surveillance and ensure that it is discussed at the next European Council Summit. You can support us by signing our petition or making a donation to our campaign.

Reporters Without Borders
(20. august 2013)

UPDATE from Reporters Without Borders:

UK government’s culpable persecution of Guardian (20 August 2013)

Reporters Without Borders is outraged that US journalist Glen Greenwald’s Brazilian partner David Miranda was detained and questioned for nine hours yesterday at London’s Heathrow airport under the UK’s Terrorism Act, and that his mobile phone, laptop and other computer equipment were all seized.

Greenwald is the Guardian journalist who has played a leading role in analysing and publishing US whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about the NSA’s electronic surveillance programmes.

“The world’s most repressive states often identify journalism with terrorism and now the British authorities have crossed a red line by resorting to this practice,” Reporters Without Borders said.

“We are very disturbed by this unacceptable violation of the UK’s obligations to respect freedom of information and the confidentiality of journalists’ sources. By acting in this arbitrary way, the British authorities have just emphasized how necessary and legitimate Snowden’s and Greenwald’s revelations were.

“Julian Assange is confined to the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Snowden was blocked for weeks at Moscow airport’s transit area, and US filmmaker Laura Poitras has encountered repeated obstacles in her movements and work. These freedom of movement violations highlight the urgency of the need to protect whistleblowers and the journalists who publish their revelations.”

Miranda, 28, had gone to Berlin to visit Poitras, who has been working with Greenwald on the Snowden revelations. He was detained while in transit at Heathrow on his way back from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro. Without letting him speak to a lawyer, the UK authorities questioned him for nine hours, the maximum period allowed under article 7 of the Terrorism Act.

The UK authorities have not established any link between Miranda and terrorist activities and did not even mention the possibility when questioning him, as Greenwald has said in his blog.

“They obviously had zero suspicion that David was associated with a terrorist organization or involved in any terrorist plot,” Greenwald wrote. “They spent their time interrogating him about the NSA reporting which Laura Poitras, the Guardian and I are doing.”

By detaining Miranda, the UK authorities were clearly using a spurious terrorism suspicion in a bid to intimidate and unsettle Greenwald and Poitras. The Guardian’s use of Snowden’s information to shed light on the surveillance practices of GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA, may also have been a motive.

Miranda’s detention was probably also designed to send an intimidatory message to all journalists covering the surveillance methods being used by the UK and US authorities.

Claiming that the British authorities “completely abused their own terrorism law,” Greenwald announced that he had no intention of dropping the story.

“If the UK and US governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded,” he wrote. “If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further.”