The Guardian’s Deputy Editor Claims the UK Gov’t Threatened the Paper with Shutdown Over Snowden

snowdenMr Johnson said the whole attitude in the UK was that national security trumped press freedom and that the newspaper should not publish a word…We were threatened that we would be closed down. We were accused of endangering national security and people’s lives. It left us in a very difficult position.  - Paul Johnson, deputy editor of The Guardian


Submitted by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:

As if you didn’t already recognize the serious threat to press freedom in the UK following authorities holding Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda for eight hours under “terrorism” laws as he transferred through London’s Heathrow airport. It’s not just the traditional press at risk in the UK either, the government is hard at work censoring the internet itself via ridiculous filters.

Now we find out from the Irish Times that:

The Guardian newspaper was threatened with closure by the British government over the Edward Snowden spying affair, the Radiodays Europe conference has been told.

The paper’s deputy editor Paul Johnson said Britain’s intelligence agencies visited them and told them they would be closed if they persisted in printing Snowden’s revelations of mass surveillance involving the National Security Agency (NSA) in the United Statesand the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in the UK. Mr Snowden is now in Russia, where he has temporary asylum. He is wanted by the US authorities on espionage charges.

Speaking at the Conference Centre Dublin (CCD), Mr Johnson said the Snowden material was much more difficult to work on than the WikiLeaks tapes because of the intense scrutiny the newspaper was subjected to by the British intelligence services.

Mr Johnson revealed that a senior civil servant had told the paper’s editor, Alan Rusbridger, that the “prime minister, the deputy prime minister, the foreign secretary, the home secretary and the attorney general have got a problem with you”.

Mr Johnson said the whole attitude in the UK was that national security trumped press freedom and that the newspaper should not publish a word. This was in contrast to the US, where the Snowden revelations had led to a debate about how far intelligence agencies should go to protect the state.

“We were threatened that we would be closed down. We were accused of endangering national security and people’s lives. It left us in a very difficult position,” he said.

Full article here.

In Liberty,
Michael Krieger


Comments

  1. Lol
    oh come on, ya don’t say…
    ok, UK bad, US bad, Red China and Russia good, right? You think Israeli papers don’t take orders from the government about what they may or may not publish? French? Chinese? Japanese?
    Ahem.
    What do you suppose Putin would threaten Pravda or RIA Novosti with if they kept leaking top secret FSB and SVR secrets ????
    Ahem, there’d be a lot of Polonium 210 going around is my guess.

  2. There is no such thing as a free press anymore beyond the rogue internet news sources

    • Indeed… and if the MSM was doing a decent job, the alternative media would have no audience.  But, since they are not, the Alt-M is doing a land office business.  Once again we see an old, tired, decrepit, and corrupt organization replaced by one that is younger, vigorous, more agile, and more in tune with the times… and old story, for sure, but one of which we certainly have not heard the last.

  3. Well, it obviously made no difference that the Monarch was declared a ‘figurehead’, did it? Proof that all government, regardless of apparent form, which is permitted to follow its own course without strict, active restriction by The People of a Land, will naturally grow to become a repressive tyranny.

    • @PatFields
       
      Indeed so, Pat, and among the more dangerous ones are the ones that seduce their citizens with just enough creature comforts to pacify them.  Yes, that costs them something up front but it sure makes things nicer for them in the long run.  Revolution is such a messy business, after all.
       

  4. You must mean Monarch “Prince Charles” that useless philandering POS, masquerading as a head of state.
     
    Just sayin’
     

Speak Your Mind