FREEDOM OF PRESS: NOT IN THE UK – It was only a few days ago that the Culture Minister Maria Miller announced plans to control the press through the formation of a Watchdog, see minister introduces measures to control the press
It has now emerged that the Police are to be given new powers that will allow them to seize confidential material from journalist, although the word ‘confidential’ could be interpreted as anything the government or the police see fit.
Currently under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) journalists are protected from disclosing information to the police under various confidentiality laws, but this is all about to end and the Press are rightly concerned over this move.
According to the new rules a journalist will no longer be able to keep confidential a source of information. When you look at the anonymity that Whistleblowers often seek, for their own safety, this move directly puts these people at risk and therefore will severely curb attempts to bring a wrong to light in order to bring public awareness to a particular issue.
When you look at this in its real context it means that Government Ministers and other powerful individuals will almost be above the law. If you think I was joking the other day, with the article above, about the UK becoming the next North Korea, then you might now start to realize that the UK is quickly becoming a country whereby it is fully controlled by communists.
Not only will our government be able to control what is reported it also means that they will be able to cover up any wrong-doings they are involved with, such as stealing from the taxpayer by falsifying expenses or dealing in corruptive practices such as giving concessions to their old school pals.
“These measures, if implemented, could have a real effect on journalism, free speech and the entire climate of freedom in the UK.” Padraig Reidy, of Index on Censorship
Currently the Home Office is under severe criticism over its plans to introduce laws that would allow the police to seize information from journalists, which directly follows the recommendations in the Leveson Report. Police argued that by allowing the Press to withhold information or protect a source this often hampered criminal investigations, something which the Lord Justice Leveson agreed with.
“These amendments would make it much easier for the police to get orders requiring production of journalistic material. The police would not even have to try to get the evidence in other ways.” Gavin Millar QC, an expert in Media Law
While our Press is often called to question over unethical practices or inaccurate information the British public needs to weight up the pro’s and con’s of Free Press. Would the British public rather have a sometimes flawed Press system or would it rather have information drip fed to it by State Controlled Media.
Simply look at North Korea and ask yourself… Is this the way the British people want to live? Do we want to be controlled and only supplied information that our Government sees fit?
With the introduction and amendments to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) this is the first step towards creating a Stalin based communist state whereby everything we see, read and hear is controlled by the Government.