Jodie Ginsberg: “We need a free, vibrant, independent and troublesome media” (Sky News, 9 May 2018)


Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg debated Evan Harris on Sky News on 9 May ahead of the UK’s House of Commons vote on amendments to the Data Protection Bill that would reintroduce into law restrictions on the press that the current government has rightly said it will not implement, namely forcing any publisher who refuses to sign up to a state-approved regulator to pay the legal costs of any data protection case brought against them, even if they win.

Ginsberg spoke in defence of a “free, vibrant, independent and troublesome media” that provides us with the information big business and the corrupt would rather remain concealed.

Index on Censorship is pleased to hear the amendments to the Data Protection Bill are likely not going ahead. This amendment had serious consequences for a free press, a cornerstone of democracy[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”4″ element_width=”6″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1526037704389-09ad51e7-e052-6″ taxonomies=”6564″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Index welcomes announcement on Section 40

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Index on Censorship welcomes the announcement by Secretary of State Matthew Hancock that the government will not implement Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013.

Implementing Section 40 would have meant that Index, which refuses to sign up to a state-backed regulator – and many other small publishers – could have faced crippling court costs in any dispute, whether they won or lost a case. This would have threatened investigative journalists publishing important public interest stories as well as those who challenge the powerful or the wealthy.

We have argued consistently that Section 40 is a direct threat to press freedom in the UK and must be scrapped. This part of the act, created as a response to the Leveson Inquiry into phone hacking, has been on the statute for several years but was not enacted because — until 2016 — there was no approved regulator of which publishers could be part. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Don’t lose your voice. Stay informed.” use_theme_fonts=”yes”][vc_separator color=”black”][vc_row_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Index on Censorship is a nonprofit that campaigns for and defends free expression worldwide. We publish work by censored writers and artists, promote debate, and monitor threats to free speech. We believe that everyone should be free to express themselves without fear of harm or persecution – no matter what their views.

Join our mailing list (or follow us on Twitter or Facebook) and we’ll send you our weekly newsletter about our activities defending free speech. We won’t share your personal information with anyone outside Index.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/2″][gravityform id=”20″ title=”false” description=”false” ajax=”false”][/vc_column_inner][/vc_row_inner][vc_separator color=”black”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”4″ element_width=”6″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1519906042363-4bc2dd22-cabf-7″ taxonomies=”6534″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Tory party promise to scrap Section 40 step in right direction

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Index on Censorship welcomes the Conservative Party’s promise in its manifesto to repeal Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. This repressive legislation would gravely jeopardise the local and regional press and endanger investigative journalism.

Section 40 (3) raises the possibility that – as a small publisher that refuses to sign up to a press regulator approved by a state-created body – we could end up paying both sides in a legal dispute even if we ultimately won the case.

For the past 45 years, Index has dedicated itself to publishing the work of censored writers and artists. The law as it stands is a direct threat to that work and to a free press.

Despite welcoming this statement by the Conservative Party, Index remains deeply concerned about the possibility of new extremism or espionage laws that could stifle free speech and threaten investigative journalism. We urge all parties to ensure that freedom of expression is not eroded through poorly drafted legislation or misguided attempts to address security concerns through restrictions on lawful speech.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row equal_height=”yes” el_class=”text_white” css=”.vc_custom_1495191066871{background-color: #d5473c !important;}”][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_custom_heading text=”Monitoring Media Freedom” use_theme_fonts=”yes” link=”|||”][vc_column_text]Index on Censorship documents threats to media freedom in Europe via a unique monitoring project and campaigns against laws that stifle journalists’ work. Find out more.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″ css=”.vc_custom_1495191048810{background-image: url( !important;background-position: center !important;background-repeat: no-repeat !important;background-size: cover !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”12″ style=”load-more” items_per_page=”4″ element_width=”6″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1495201536304-1010d8ed-d905-6″ taxonomies=”8993, 3895″][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Section 40: Local newspapers respond to “dangerous lunacy”


Small publishers and local newspapers like the Maidenhead Advertiser could be targeted if Section 40 is implemented.

Local newspapers have an extremely important role in shining a light on corruption, danger and crime in their communities. This is not a job likely to be picked up by anyone else should those newspapers close. They do this in an increasingly difficult financial environment.

They report on court cases, the costs of local services and interrogate local officials. Once our local press dies that these essentials will probably go unreported.

The public should be aware that today is the last day that they can make clear to the government that Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 is not acceptable in a modern democracy that believes in a free press. This is a bizarre law that punishes truthful reporting by making newspapers and magazines of all sizes and shapes pay the legal costs of a law suit that proves that their reporting is accurate and should not be given a place in our legal system.

This could have extremely dangerous effect on our local newspapers that’s why so many local newspaper editors have spoken about their fears for the future if Section 40 is triggered.

Here’s how some local newspapers have responded to Section 40.

Cambrian News: Join us in the crucial fight to protect your right to know

“Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act is an obscure piece of legislation for the public, but its implementation could force newspapers and magazines to pay both sides’ costs in privacy and libel cases, even if they successfully defend a legal action by showing their reporting was accurate and publication was in the public interest.

“A government consultation, which closes on Tuesday, is seeking opinions on whether or not to put costs orders under Section 40 into operation.

“This flies in the face of fundamental rights of the freedom of the press, freedom of expression, the public’s right to receive information, and the first principle of justice – that it should be fair.”

Read the full Cambrian News article

Cambridge News: Section 40: Do you believe in a free press? It is under threat like never before

“It is no secret that the regional press operates in a very challenging commercial environment as we transition from being a print focused industry (where our revenues have been in decline for a number of years) into a digitally led business.

“The huge disruption in our industry has made the job of serving regional audiences harder, and it has been getting harder for the best part of a decade.

“I urge you to join me in opposing Section 40 of the Courts and Crime Act, a piece of legislation that would empower those who seek wrongdoing from the eyes of the public and add a huge financial risk to regional newspapers.”

Read the full Cambridge News article

Express & Star: Editor Keith Harrison on why we need you to speak up for us now

“Essentially, this is a piece of legislation that would mean newspapers paying the costs for anyone who wants to sue them – whether they are successful or not.

“It would lead to a raft of spurious complaints made by people unhappy with something they have seen in print, who could challenge matters all the way up to the High Court, safe in the knowledge that if they eventually lose the case . . . the newspaper will pay their costs.

“Not only is this lunacy, it is dangerous lunacy.”

Read the full Express & Star article

Maidenhead Advertiser: Don’t let politicians kill off your local papers

“Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013 will mean newspapers that refuse to join the state-approved press regulator IMPRESS will have to pay the costs of both sides in civil cases like libel – even if they win.

“The costs will be ruinous for the local press and even national newspapers will be dissuaded from running contentious stories that could result in legal action.

“The most solid defence against a libel action is that a story is true.

“Section 40 undermines this crucial pillar of British justice and with it brings the whole house crashing down on the role of newspapers to inform the public without fear or favour.”

Read the full Maidenhead Advertiser article

Nottingham Post: Resist this threat to your local newspaper’s survival

“The terrible revelation that murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler had her mobile phone hacked by national newspaper journalists quite rightly caused public outrage.

“But rather than demanding to know why the long-standing criminal laws that prevent phone-hacking had not been enforced and guilty parties prosecuted, politicians instead started a process that could well diminish Britain’s freedom of the press.”

Read the full Nottingham Post article

Shropshire Star: Join the Shropshire Star’s fight to keep free press

“But if the Government decides to go ahead and put Section 40 into action, it is something that will affect every single reader of this newspaper – because it will place draconian constraints on what information we can and can’t share with you. In short, it means we could be punished for telling the truth.

“Stories such as the controversy about the Future Fit hospital proposals, the troubles of Shropshire Council’s IP & E venture, and the fall-out from the Operation Chalice investigation into child sex abuse could all become a thing of the past if the Government chooses to activate Section 40.”

Read the full Shropshire Star article[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_cta h2=”TAKE ACTION” h2_font_container=”font_size:30|color:%23dd3333″ shape=”square” color=”grey” use_custom_fonts_h2=”true”]

Index on Censorship urges everyone to voice their opposition to Section 40

Write to the Secretary of State

The Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
100 Parliament Street
London SW1A 2BQ

Write to your MP

Find your MP here


Add your voice to the consultation on the Leveson Inquiry and its implementation[/vc_cta][vc_basic_grid post_type=”post” max_items=”4″ element_width=”6″ grid_id=”vc_gid:1483963575538-ea4de372-7b3e-9″ taxonomies=”8996″][/vc_column][/vc_row]