Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

20 August 2013

UK must account for its actions to repress Guardian reporting on surveillance

UK must account for its actions to repress Guardian reporting on surveillance
The Guardian has reported that they were forced to destroy information they had received from the US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The Guardian has reported that they were forced to destroy information they had received from the US whistleblower Edward Snowden.

© Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images


Insisting that the Guardian destroy information received from a whistleblower is a sinister turn of events
Source: 
Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Law and Policy at Amnesty International.

Pressure placed on the Guardian newspaper by UK authorities to destroy documents represents a threat to freedom of expression, the right to information and protecting the independence of the media in the UK, Amnesty International said today.

The Guardian has reported that the UK authorities repeatedly threatened the newspaper’s management with legal action and led to it being forced to destroy information it had received from the US whistleblower Edward Snowden. This information is about unlawful surveillance by the US and the UK governments which violates their citizens’ and other people’s right to privacy.

“Insisting that the Guardian destroy information received from a whistleblower is a sinister turn of events,” said Tawanda Hondora, Deputy Director of Law and Policy at Amnesty International.

“This is an example of the government trying to undermine press freedoms. It also seriously undermines the right of the public to know what governments do with their personal and private information. If confirmed, these actions expose the UK’s hypocrisy as it pushes for freedom of expression overseas.

“The UK government must explain its actions and publicly affirm its commitment to the rule of law, freedom of expression and the independence of the media. They should initiate an inquiry into who ordered this action against the Guardian.”
 
“Using strong-arm tactics to try to silence media outlets and reports that divulge information relating to Prism and other surveillance efforts, is clearly against the public interest."

The Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger on Monday published allegations about the UK authorities’ actions over the past several months to pressure the newspaper to hand over or destroy evidence related to the government surveillance.

Issue

Freedom Of Expression 

Country

UK 

Region

Europe And Central Asia 

News

29 July 2014

Burundi’s ruling party is perpetrating a relentless campaign of intimidation against government critics and its youth wing is carrying out crimes with impunity ahead of next... Read more »

30 July 2014

A year after Chelsea Manning was convicted of leaking classified government material,  the US authorities should grant her clemency, release her immediately, and urgently... Read more »

22 July 2014

Indonesia’s new President Joko Widodo must deliver on campaign promises to improve Indonesia’s dire human rights situation, Amnesty International said.

Read more »
30 July 2014

The persecution of human rights activists continues unabated in Azerbaijan, in spite of the obligations the country committed to as a member of Council of Europe and currently... Read more »

30 July 2014

An attack overnight on the Jabaliya elementary school in Gaza, where more than 3,000 displaced civilians had sought refuge, is a possible war crime and should be independently... Read more »