This week we saw how NSA Director General Keith Alexander called on the government to find a way to stop the free press from being . . . well . . . a free press and publish Snowden documents. This follows statements from Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other denouncing both Snowden and the media despite admissions (as a result of those disclosures) that the government has made a variety of violations of U.S. and international laws. Now, even as his country decries the disclosure of over monitoring of foreign leaders and citizens, British Prime Minister David Cameron has said that he intends to stop English papers like the Guardian of informing of the public of the content of these Snowden documents.
Cameron announced that “If they (newspapers) don’t demonstrate some social responsibility it will be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act.”
The “social responsibility” referenced by Cameron does not appear to include informing the public of the attack on privacy or even the exercise of the rights of a free press. Indeed, informing the public on the effort to make their lives transparent to the government — even foreign governments — is viewed by Cameron as an abuse. It is a fascinating disconnect. Leaders are scrambling to public condemn U.S. programs and demand answers in the wake of the Snowden disclosures while trying to shutdown further disclosures. However, the problem now is not some whistleblower but the free press that is endangering society by informing it of the truth.
42 thoughts on “Cameron Joins American Leaders In Threatening The Media Over Release Of Snowden Documents”
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“Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.” -Thomas Jefferson
Glenn Greenwald, today:
“I really urge everyone to take note of, and stand against, what I and others have written about for years, but which is becoming increasingly more threatening: namely, a sustained and unprecedented
attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process in the US. That same menacing climate is now manifest in the UK as well, as evidenced by the truly stunning warnings issued this week by British Prime Minister David Cameron:
British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Monday his government was likely to act to stop newspapers publishing what he called damaging leaks from former US intelligence operative Edward Snowden unless they began to behave more responsibly.
“If they (newspapers) don’t demonstrate some social responsibility it will be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act,” Cameron told parliament, saying Britain’s Guardian newspaper had “gone on” to print damaging material after initially agreeing to destroy other sensitive data.
There are extremist though influential factions in both countries which want to criminalize not only whistleblowing but the act of journalism itself (pdf). I’m not leaving because of those threats – if anything, they make me want to stay and continue to publish here – but I do believe it’s urgent that everyone who believes in basic press freedoms unite against this.
Allowing journalism to be criminalized is in nobody’s interest other than the states which are trying to achieve that. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in an 1804 letter to John Tyler:
Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions.”
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