UK: Disorder no excuse to clamp down on internet

Governments must not crack down on internet and mobile phone networks during times of unrest, the British Prime Minister David Cameron said yesterday. Speaking at a two-day international cybersecurity conference in London, Cameron said that cybersecurity should not be an “excuse for censorship or to deny their people the opportunities that the internet represents”.

Speaking at the same conference, Index on Censorship CEO John Kampfner said: “as soon as our own Western-style stability of the state is called into question then freedom of expression is expendable. There should be one rule for all, including Western governments.”

UK: Metropolitan police request riot footage

The Metropolitan Police have served a notice of application for a production order on the Guardian seeking “all published and unpublished footage and images between 6 to 10 August with respect to the disorder within London and the area policed by the Met Police”. David Cameron had earlier told MPs that the media has a “responsibility” to immediately release footage to help police track down and punish those responsible for the violence in August. Journalists and media organisations expressed concern over the request, with broadcasters BBC and ITN maintaining that police must follow the proper procedure of obtaining a court order to avoid compromising editorial standards.

United Kingdom: Journalists attacked during London riots

As chaotic rioting and looting spreads across London and other British cities, journalists have been among those assaulted by troublemakers in the capital. A BBC crew was attacked on Monday night while driving through Croydon, where shops were looted and burnt to the ground. In Ealing, local reporter Michael Russell was beaten and had his camera stolen by rioters. Reporting from Hackney, Guardian journalist Paul Lewis said he had seen a handful of reporters being “thrown to the floor and beaten by a group of youths.” Also in Hackney, BBC junior journalist Alex Hudson was threatened by rioters and told to delete his images.

BlackBerry Messenger and the law

BlackBerry Messenger has been cited as the main organisational tool for the London riots, with Tottenham MP David Lammy even suggesting it be shut down until order is restored. Research in Motion has had previous run-ins with the law in India, as Prashant Iyengar explained in this article for Index on Censorship magazine in June