The Sunday Times newspaper has come under renewed criticism for publishing a story that parrots the line of the British government.
Owned by Rupert Murdoch, the UK newspaper splashed a story on its front page last week bearing the headline: 'British spies betrayed to Russians and Chinese.'
The story suggested that a cache of documents obtained by Edward Snowden during his time at the NSA had fallen into the hands of the Russian and Chinese governments, with both managing to "crack" the files, putting the lives of British spies in danger.
The story's first line was overly dramatic, stating that the breach had forced "MI6 to pull agents out of live operations in hostile countries."
However, standing behind the headline was not a shred of evidence, not one provable fact.
Instead, the Sunday Times' bold statement was founded on unnamed government sources making unsubstantiated claims which the journalists involved apparently left unquestioned.
Critics panned the piece for swallowing the official line whole - something that Tom Harper of the Sunday Times saw no reason to deny.
"We just publish what we believe to be the position of the British government at the moment," Harper told CNN in an interview.
The controversy surrounding the article has sparked fresh debate over the relationship between journalists and governments.
Joining us to talk about the national security narrative and the line between stenography and journalism are Richard Norton Taylor of the Guardian; Ryan Gallagher of the Intercept; as well as Snowden sceptics Michael Cohen from the Boston Globe; and Anthony Glees, the director of the Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham.
Source: Al Jazeera