Index welcomes the report by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) on the worrying state of press freedom in the UK. The WAN-IFRA report criticises the use of national security concerns to threaten and restrict investigative journalism, in particular the Guardian’s revelations and reporting on the Snowden mass surveillance scandal. WAN-IFRA also provides detailed analysis of the post-Leveson debate about press regulation, and challenges in particular both the involvement of politicians in the Royal Charter approach, the use of exemplary damages enshrined in statute for those who do not participate in a “voluntary”, Royal Charter-compliant press regulator, and the failure to bring the print industry on board in the final discussions around the Royal Charter.
Index CEO, Kirsty Hughes, said: “It is a sad day when the state of press freedom in Britain is so degraded that an international mission of editors and journalists finds so many concerns – from mass surveillance to politicians intervening in press regulation to national security being used to trump investigative journalism.”
She went on: “Index hopes that politicians from all parties will read and take very seriously this damning report – it should be a wake-up call to all those who see a free press as fundamental to our democracy.”