'On Wednesday an international conference on press freedom was launched in London. Ironically on the same day Her Majesty’s government was defending its mass surveillance on communications, including those of journalists.
The Global Conference for Media Freedom, co-organized by the governments of the UK and Canada, was launched with much fanfare in the British capital, with some 1,000 representatives from around the world present. Some media professionals were barred from the grand event (namely this media, RT and another Russian outlet Sputnik to be precise), but of course it didn’t stop hosts from declaring appreciation of the role that a free press plays in a free society.
Halfway across Europe in Strasbourg on the same day lawyers representing the British government were defending its right to spy on electronic communication of people before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).
The case was brought before the court by 16 organizations and individuals defending civil and journalistic liberties, including the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. They argued that mass snooping, first revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, violated the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression – the latter being fundamental for journalistic work.
“This may be the most important case with regard to the protection of journalistic communications and the protection of our sources to be heard in the past 20 years,” Rachel Oldroyd, managing editor of the Bureau said.
“As journalists we must be able to speak freely to our sources without fear of surveillance. The UK government’s system of mass collection and storage of all our communications is a severe threat to this cornerstone of our profession and a severe intrusion upon the freedom of the press.”
It is ironic that on the very day the Bureau is making this case against the British government’s surveillance regime in the highest court in Europe, the same government is hosting a global summit on press freedom.
In September 2018 the ECHR ruled that Britain didn’t have necessary safeguards in place to ensure that its mass surveillance complied with the European Convention on Human Rights after which the case was referred to the Grand Chamber. The hearing on Wednesday lasted almost three hours, but the date for delivering the judgement is yet to be announced.'
Read more: London proudly hosts press freedom forum, defends right to spy on journos in Strasbourg the same day
Jeremy Hunt stays mum when asked about Assange on way to press freedom conference (VIDEO)
'What did UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the host of an international media freedom conference, have to say about the controversial arrest and pending extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange? Nothing.
Assange marked his 48th birthday inside a top security British prison last week, where he is awaiting extradition hearings on request from the US, where he is likely to be sentenced to effectively a lifetime behind bars. Critics say he is being punished for revealing embarrassing secrets of the US government and that his expected trial and conviction would set a disastrous precedent for media freedom.
Seems like a thing to be discussed at the Global Conference for Media Freedom currently underway in London? Not really, it’s not on the agenda.
So Ruptly, RT's video agency, which was not allowed to take part in the high-profile gathering by the British authorities, tried to get a comment from Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt as he was rushing to the event on Thursday. The official wouldn’t say a word about Assange and only muttered that banning Russian media from the conference was “not about freedom.”
His nonchalance was caught on camera.
Source - RT