Will State Department Condemn The UK For Using Terror Laws To Stifle Journalism?

from the it's-done-so-with-others dept

We wrote earlier about the incredible situation in the UK, in which the government there is making the ridiculous argument that it was appropriate to detain Glenn Greenwald’s partner David Miranda at Heathrow under an anti-terrorism law because his journalistic activities qualify as terrorism because they might “influence a government.” It seems fairly obvious to most rational observers, that the UK is redefining anti-terrorism laws to stifle journalism it doesn’t like.

Trevor Timm, over at the Freedom of the Press Foundation wonders if the US State Department will condemn the UK for this activity, noting a long history of the State Department condemning countries who use anti-terror laws to stifle journalism.

For example, in January 2012, in response to Ethiopia jailing award-winning journalist Eskinder Nega, the State Department expressed “concern that the application of anti-terrorism laws can sometimes undermine freedom of expression and independent media.” Again in June State Department released a statement saying the US “The Ethiopian government has used the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation to jail journalists and opposition party members for peacefully exercising their freedoms of expression and association.”

The 2012 State Department human rights report on Turkey criticizes the country for imprisoning “scores of journalists…most charged under antiterror laws or for connections to an illegal organization.”

In April 2013, the State Department cited Burundi for imprisoning radio journalist Hassan Ruvakuki and three of his colleagues for “acts of terrorism.”

Just last month, in response to respected Moroccan journalist Ali Anouzla being arrested under an anti-terror law for linking to a Youtube video, the State Department said, “We are concerned with the government of Morocco’s decision to charge Mr. Anouzla. We support freedom of expression and of the press, as we say all the time, universal rights that are an indispensable part of any society.”

So now when a close ally is doing exactly the same thing — but it’s in an effort to stifle journalism the US probably doesn’t much like either — will the State Department react the same way? A reporter for The Guardian, Dan Roberts, apparently asked the White House that question, and White House spokesperson Jay Carney gave one of those “I’ll have to get back to you” kind of answers, which suggests no intention of actually answering the question. Hopefully Roberts and other reporters will continue asking the question until an actual answer is given.

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Comments on “Will State Department Condemn The UK For Using Terror Laws To Stifle Journalism?”

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13 Comments
That One Guy (profile) says:

Magic 8-ball says 'Not a chance'

Given the leaks cover both British and US spying, and the NSA and it’s defenders have done everything they can to destroy the credibility of Snowden and any other group/person involved with the leaks, up to and including accusation or implications that they are terrorists for their actions, I’d say the State Department is likely to stay completely silent on this one.

out_of_the_blue says:

Disambiguation needed:

“but it’s in an effort to stifle journalism the US probably doesn’t much like either” — Can be read as either the “effort to stifle journalism”, or the journalism itself, which is what I assume you meant to convey.


The freedoms you take for granted today were death penalty treason in 1776. Don’t let the Inherited Rich restore feudalism. Pull them down with high taxes on unearned income — and ZERO taxes on wages, they HATE that!

11:17:37[m-290-1]

wto605 (profile) says:

I wish!

It could go something like this:

“On 9/11/01 19 terrorists killed 2,977 people in an unprecedented attack on the US. On 7/7/05 4 terrorists killed 52 people in the first deadly attack on the UK since the Belfast Agreement. To use this label for purpose of persecuting the partner of a journalist is disrespectful to the memory of no fewer than 3,000 people.”

Not an Electronic Rodent (profile) says:

Yeah, right!

Trevor Timm, over at the Freedom of the Press Foundation wonders if the US State Department will condemn the UK for this activity, noting a long history of the State Department condemning countries who use anti-terror laws to stifle journalism and haven’t been giving the US all the illegally obtained intelligence they are using the terror laws to cover up.

…thought I should complete the sentence…

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