UK Metropolitan Police Admit They've Finally Shelved 'Investigation' Into Journalists Who Reported On Snowden Docs
from the chilling-effects dept
It’s well known that the UK doesn’t have nearly as strong press protections as the US does, but it was still somewhat shocking to discover that the Metropolitan Police in London had opened an investigation into journalists who reported on the Snowden documents back in 2013. The Metropolitan Police had refused to confirm or deny such an investigation before finally acknowledging it in 2015.
However, Ryan Gallagher now reveals that the Met Police have declared the investigation “inactive” for the time being:
The Met told me in response to a recent Freedom of Information request that the investigation is “inactive pending further information being received.” Since 2014, I’ve had several updates from the Met regarding the investigation, and this marks the first time that its status has changed from “ongoing.” In November 2017, the Met stated that it was a “complex investigation and enquiries continue.”
Even as such, this creates a huge chilling effect. It’s one thing to argue that whistleblowers revealing details of illegal surveillance should face criminal investigation and charges — it’s another thing altogether to make the same argument for journalists who are merely reporting on the details of that leaked information. Even the mere suggestion of an investigation likely has the impact of scaring off many journalists from reporting on such evidence of malfeasance and illegality by the intelligence community.
While it’s good to see that the Metropolitan Police have set the investigation to “inactive” for now, just the fact that they’re still saying it might change “pending further information being received” still serves to act as a deterrent to continued reporting in the UK.