Monday, February 13, 2017

Britain to criminalise journalism

The British government is reviewing the Official Secrets Act. Naturally, they're using this to criminalise journalism:

Campaigners have expressed outrage at new proposals that could lead to journalists being jailed for up to 14 years for obtaining leaked official documents.

The major overhaul of the Official Secrets Act – to be replaced by an updated Espionage Act – would give courts the power to increase jail terms against journalists receiving official material.

The new law, should it get approval, would see documents containing “sensitive information” about the economy fall foul of national security laws for the first time.

In theory a journalist leaked Brexit documents deemed harmful to the UK economy could be jailed as a consequence.

One legal expert said the new changes would see the maximum jail sentence increase from two years to 14 years; make it an offence to “obtain or gather” rather than simply share official secrets; and to extend the scope of the law to cover information that damages “economic well-being”.

These are the sorts of laws you expect in a C19th despotism, or Putin's Russia - not in a supposedly modern democracy. But the UK has been moving away from democracy for a long time, to the extent that they're now basicly a tyranny. Putinesque secrecy laws criminalising journalists, whistleblowers and those who expose government deceit simply makes that overt.