New UK law could lead journalists to be prosecuted for receiving press releases, associates claim

Journalists who receive “harmless press releases” could face arrest and prosecution under new national security legislation passed by Congress, peers warned.

In a discussion about national security bill In the House of Lords on Wednesday, Baroness Jones of Mursecum, a fellow Green Party member, said: “Many journalists and organizations have reached out to me and expressed serious concerns about this national security bill.

she said: “

A provision in the bill states that if a journalist “should have reasonably known” that his actions were supporting a foreign power, or if he cooperated with an organization funded by a foreign power, he could has the potential to be prosecuted.

Jones said: This means that journalists and NGOs should be careful when receiving information from governments, even innocent press releases from, for example, the US government or local governments in France. “

She was supported by fellow Conservative Party member Lord Black of Brentwood, vice chairman of the Telegraph Media Group, which publishes The Daily Telegraph. Modern public interest journalism in a digitally connected world inevitably crosses borders.

“It involves a combination of civil society and media organizations working together to report leaked documents from the public and private sectors, and their disclosure is truly in the public interest. We rely on whistleblowers who have been accused and people who provide information to support the truth of the allegations,” he added.

Mr Black said: The Daily Mail’s report on the horrific experience of a female submarine crew member aboard a nuclear submarine and last year when he used his position to terrorize his partner before moving abroad to continue an investigation under investigation. BBC story of.

“I can see how the argument could be made that any of these reports could be useful to foreign intelligence agencies,” he added.

Bill “could be deployed to stop … investigative reporting”

Black said he didn’t believe the national security bill would be used to “regularly” prosecute journalists, but “importantly, it could be applied to stop a major portion of investigative journalism.” I believe there are situations where it could be,” he added.

The bill is currently in the Senate committee stage, and several colleagues have attempted to introduce amendments to introduce public interest protections.

Baroness Manningham-Buller, former Executive Director of MI5, said:

she said: what do you mean? National security information includes information that can indirectly identify sources whose lives may be endangered. Identify vulnerable and undefendable sources and methods. “

Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town, a trade unionist, questioned whether the bill could be used to hold British politicians accountable for meetings with foreign politicians.

she said: Do these parties coming here and meeting with any of us count as activity and must be reported within 10 days?”

Hayter said: Is it covered by what must be declared?

Epsom Home Office Minister Lord Sharp said: “It is our view that the government does not believe the bill criminalizes legitimate activity and therefore this amendment is unnecessary.”

Mr Sharp said: It is important that states cannot circumvent the measures of the bill by exerting harmful influence through their agents. “

Chris Summers
Chris Summers is a UK-based journalist with a wide range of national coverage, with a particular interest in crime, police and law.