The Listening Post

The UK Snoopers’ Charter: A threat to press freedom?

We look at Britain’s controversial surveillance reform and its impact on journalism.

The British government is in the midst of rewriting the country’s laws on surveillance and national security through a piece of legislation called the Investigatory Powers Bill (IPB) – and journalists have a big stake in this story.

Over the last decade and a half, ever since the 9/11 attacks, the UK parliament has invoked more than 65 different laws and measures, to be used ostensibly to fight crime or terrorism.

But the ramifications for British reporters have included stop-and-search requests while on the job, mining of their digital data, secret monitoring of their communications, and evidence that some reporters have somehow ended up on police databases used to track extremists.

This is all now coming to a head as parliament debates the IPB – referred to by its critics as the ‘Snoopers’ Charter’ – it’s designed to pull together all laws governing how the government, police and intelligence services can spy on citizens, including those in the media.

The Listening Post‘s Flo Phillips reports on surveillance measures in the UK and the relationship between the security state and the journalists who dare to challenge it.