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REPORT: Source protection in the UK must be strengthened

Untitled by ohitisofalmighty, licence CC0 1.0

New legal and technical developments have made British journalists more vulnerable to spying by the state, a recent report states. It is based on a meeting of 25 “investigative journalists, representatives from relevant NGOs and media organisations, media lawyers and specialist researchers”. The report was prepared by the Information Law & Policy Centre, affiliated with the University of London.

The meeting yielded a substantive review of threats to source confidentiality. One of the main concerns was that current legal protections in the UK are outdated: while old protections focus on contingencies like court orders compelling journalists to disclose information, new technology allows that information to be gleaned without the journalists’ consent or knowledge.

The report closes with a 10-point agenda, detailing separate recommendations for policy action, journalists and newsrooms, and NGO’s and researchers alike. For example, journalists are urged to acquire training in information security, and scholars to explore the definitions of “journalists” in order to clarify legal grey-zones.

The full report is freely available at the Information Law and Policy Centre’s website (PDF file). The report was also covered by, among others, the Press Gazette – you can read their piece here.

Picture: Untitled by rohitisofalmighty, licence CC0 1.0.

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