Suella Braverman: Stop the attack on journalistic freedom

 Priti Patel | Richard Lincoln / Alamy Stock Photo To: Suella Braverman, UK home secretary

We, the undersigned, object to measures in the National Security Bill that could see journalists jailed for life for revealing leaked information that would ‘prejudice’ the “safety or interests of” the UK. We are gravely concerned that it would be up to ministers to decide what this means – and that there is no defence of acting in the public interest.

We are alarmed that journalists and activists who share leaks of official information which could prejudice government policies could face imprisonment if they belong to organisations that have been given grants by other countries – including those from UK allies, such as the Swedish Development Agency or US AID.

The UK advocacy group, the Campaign for Freedom of Information, and Article 19, an international human rights organisation, have said in a briefing: “If the government decided that the UK’s energy situation required an immediate expansion of fracking or the building of coal-fired or nuclear power plants, the use of leaked information which could undermine that policy could be a criminal offence under the bill.”

We believe that, in a democratic society, it is fundamental that governments are scrutinised by a free media. We are alarmed that this poorly framed legislation threatens that, and demand that you change it.

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