Tuesday 21st of September 2021

freedom of the press UK style...


















Boris Johnson is an ex-journalist who wants to send working journalists to prison. Boris Johnson is an opponent of the “nanny state” who will give the courts the ability to jail anyone who reveals the abuse of state power. Judge him by the standards that are meant to have guided his life, and you find that Boris Johnson is a monumental fraud.


Yet no one contemplating the autocratic control his government is awarding itself has said that his transformation from celebrity journalist into secret policeman needs explaining. The one principle even his sternest critic would expect him to defend was a free press. Yet there he is threatening to censor and imprison like a part-time Putin.


The hypocrisy is exceptional even by the standards of this government. In 2003, the Blair administration went for the BBC for claiming that it had “sexed up” its dossier on Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction to justify invading Iraq. Johnson supported the corporation. The BBC was engaged in “justified reporting”, he wrote in the Telegraph, and Blair was training “his guns at exactly the wrong target”. Now, Johnson is aiming his guns at every target: civil servants, police officers, newspapers, broadcasters and any member of the public who reveals what his government wants hidden.


In its consultation for legislation to “counter state threats”, the Home Office proposes to “modernise” the Official Secrets Act. Its measure is only modern in the sense that Putin’s Kremlin or the Chinese Communist party is modern. Johnson is showing his modernity by going with the flow of a world where states everywhere are treating accountability as treason.

If the government wanted to protect genuine secrets and was concerned solely with serious crime and hostile foreign powers, I would have no objection. Instead, it has decided there can be no public interest defence for an unauthorised disclosure. An official or reporter will not be able to escape jail by saying they had exposed an abuse of power. The requirement that the government has to prove that an unauthorised disclosure has caused damage will go, too. The leak may be in the public interest. It may not have harmed national security or interfered with an operation against organised crime. No matter. Both source and reporter are guilty.

For once in its history, the Home Office is spelling out what it believes in plain language. “We do not consider that there is necessarily a distinction in severity between espionage and the most serious unauthorised disclosures,” it says. The foreign agent and the domestic reporter are potentially equal threats.

Martin Bright, the editor of Index on Censorship, whose confrontation with the secret state when he worked at the Observer is shown in the Netflix film Official Secrets, invites you to imagine the chill that will descend on public life. Every leak and unofficial revelation will have the potential to become a criminal offence. The state will then have the political power to pick and choose which case to prosecute.

The National Union of Journalists – my union, to declare an interest – has gone through official secrets cases the government could not successfully prosecute under existing law to show the danger we face. They include the police harassing Channel 4 for reporting on how undercover police officers had spiedon Stephen Lawrence’s family. The Met going for the Guardian for revealing that officers thought the phone of the murdered teenager Milly Dowler had been hacked and Belfast reporters facing prosecution for revealing links between the police and loyalist murderers. These were not attempts to protect national security but to close down legitimate investigations.

Johnson, like too many commentators of the left as well as the right, was a canny marketer who gave his customer base what it wanted. The resultant hypocrisy is depressing but all too common: the progressive columnist deplores racism on the right but ignores antisemitism on the left; the Conservative pundit deplores abuses of power by leftwing governments and endorses them when their side is in power. Both would rather keep their foot on their enemies’ throats than defend basic standards of truth telling and the integrity of the democratic system.


Read more:



Why is Nick Cohen and his cohortes always refer to Putin's Russia in regard to this subject?


FREE JULIAN ASSANGE NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

press freedom restrictions in the UK...

UK press freedom record marred by FOI restrictions, the detention of Julian Assange, and threats to the safety of journalists in Northern Ireland   

Despite the UK government’s stated commitment to defending global media freedom, domestic restrictions remained cause for concern. A secret government unit appeared to serve as a clearing house for freedom of information requests, and critical media outlets found themselves blacklisted or facing other restrictions. Critical reporting on the government’s Covid-19 response was met with vindictive official reactions.


The detention of Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange particularly blighted the UK’s press freedom record. Assange’s extradition proceedings were marred by extensive barriers to open justice. Despite deciding against the US extradition request in January 2021, the court denied Assange’s bail application. Assange’s mental and physical health remain at high risk in Belmarsh prison, where Covid-19 infections have been rampant.


Two years after the killing of journalist Lyra McKee, journalists covering paramilitary activity and organised crime in Northern Ireland remain at serious risk, with death threats frequently reported. The man charged with McKee’s murder was released on bail in July 2020 and has not yet been brought to trial. In November 2020, the Police Service of Northern Ireland was ordered to pay £875,000 in damages to journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, following their inappropriate arrest and the seizure of their journalistic materials in 2018.



The establishment of the National Committee for the Safety of Journalists in July 2020 and publication of a National Action Plan in March 2021 were welcome steps. Robust implementation of the Action Plan will be crucial towards establishing a climate in which journalists can work safely and without fear throughout the UK - both online and offline.



Read more:




boris's balderdash...


For those of you who don’t know, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, and current alt-news blogger, Craig Murray is on his way to prison.

We haven’t covered the story much here, being mainly concerned with the global autocratic power-grab and being cursed with only so many hours in the day, but nevertheless, the case is a travesty.

The crime he’s convicted of? Contempt of court, through “jigsaw identification” of anonymous accusers during the (farcical and corrupt) case against Scotland’s former First Minister Alex Salmond.

Without getting into the details, Murray was said to have published enough information that it would become possible to identify said accusers. It was exactly as contrived as it sounds, and was nothing but an exercise in singling out one of the few voices a) defending Salmond, and b) reporting the obvious political machinations behind the trial in the first place.

The eventual (unprecedented) conviction – as in all cases where the state is exerting power for its own sake – was a foregone conclusion. And Mr Murray is on his way to reside at Her Majesty’s Pleasure for eight months. The first time a British court has jailed a journalist for contempt in over fifty years.

And he has already been denied the right to launch an appeal.


A tearful farewell to Craig Murray with his supporters singing ‘Auld Lang Syne’ as he hands himself in to the police at St Leonards Police Station, Edinburgh to begin his 8 month sentence for reporting on the Alex Salmond case. Journalism under threat in Scotland and the UK. pic.twitter.com/X38Rf8opwA

— Ragged Trousered Philanderer (@RaggedTP) August 1, 2021


Nay-sayers will likely say that it’s “only eight months”, or that he’s a “civil prisoner” (meaning he gets to wear his own clothes, and more access to books and visitors), but that’s not really the point.

The point, as always, is the precedent. 

Scottish law has found a journalist guilty for a contrived reason, purely because he was gain-saying the state. Further, in her ruling the Judge found that bloggers and small independent outlets should be held to different standards than larger, traditional media outlets.

Just as with Julian Assange, whether you like or agree with Craig Murray is not the issue. The point is, officially, they are both journalists in jail for publishing. 

If it were happening in Russia or Iran, the mainstream press would be all over it…but it’s happening here, so they clap along. 

In a way, Murray’s loss of freedom mirrors that of entire nations under lockdown, or travellers forced into jail-like “quarantine hotels” at their own expense. There is an all-out assault on freedom going on, at every level of society. And those who champion Craig Murray now, but remain silent on the bigger picture, should perhaps take this chance to open their eyes and see how the world is changing around them before it’s too late.

The war against freedom has many theatres, some big and some small, but they’re all important.

Any reader who wants to send a letter of support can do so at using the e-mail address: craigmurrayjustice[at]gmail.com

There may be a physical mailing address in the future if you prefer.

You can read a detailed history of the case through Craig’s blogs. We also suggest you follow his twitter, and the Craig Murray Justice Campaign account, to keep up-to-date with his status.


Read more:



Read from top.



See also:

unfortunately, biden is a hypocrite, friend of a hypocrite boris...




goons: this is the BBC...


and especially:


a soi-disant global defender of journalistic freedom...




And piss (apologies: I could not find another appropriate word) on Claire Harvey for writing such crap: