Snooping powers hurting press freedom - Bourke

April 27, 2017 4:28 PM

Journalists in the UK are less free to hold power to account than those working in South Africa, Chile or Lithuania, according to an index of press freedom around the world. Commenting on the news, Joe Bourke, Brentford and Isleworth Liberal Democrat candidate, said:

"The surveillance state that Theresa May is building using the provisions of the Investigatory Powers Act, which allow the bulk collection of our personal information, and that of journalists, undermines the very freedoms essential to a healthy democracy. The drastic tumble down the world rankings in recent years shows that this Government does not care for our freedoms or our international reputation.

"At the same time, they have passed laws that undermine press freedom and investigative journalism, essential elements of any true democracy.

"The crackdown on journalistic freedoms, taken together with the surge in the number of freedom of information requests being refused by Whitehall, shows how determined this Government is to avoid being held to account. And the Labour Party's ineffective opposition has allowed them to get away with it."

Notes: A report by Reporters Without Borders has knocked the UK down two places from last year, to 40th out of 180 countries in its World Press Freedom Index. The report can be found here: https://rsf.org/en/ranking