UK government threatens jail for journalists who work with whistleblowers

Under a new proposal from the UK Law Commission, journalists who handle or report on leaked documents demonstrating corruption or government malfeasance would face prison sentences.

The recommendation applies to any documents that relate to the "economic wellbeing of the country" and other "national secrets" -- including documents that relate to the ongoign Brexit negotiations.

JIM KILLOCK: Well, the idea that you can face a jail sentence for handling documents, for instance. I mean, that would just close down journalism where state secrecy is concerned. That is obviously, obviously wrong. And the lack of any sign of a public interest defense for somebody in the secret services, or handling national documents, national security documents to be able to work with journalists? That is also wrong. The Law Commission seemed to have said even before consultation that it doesn't think it's necessary to have those sorts of protections. That, if a whistleblower within the secret services needs to tell somebody in authority to get the word out somethings gone wrong, then they should be able to go to an ombudsman they say he will be able to solve the problem. That's plainly ridiculous. Ombudsmen would be open to political pressure, it may not be something you trust them over. You may not want to take that route and the public have an interest, they have a right to know ultimately.

It shouldn't all be something that can be hushed up within the government's own processes. So, clearly, it's aimed up stamping out journalism and whistleblowing. And we just have to have a very much more open approach in our view.

New UK Secrecy Laws Include Harsh Sentences For Journalists Working With Whistleblowers
[Real News Network]

(via Naked Capitalism)


(Image: Palace of Westminster, London, Diliff, CC-BY-SA)