‘In the Name of National Security’: UK Press Freedom Worst in Western Europe

Europe

RWB’s dedicated country-specific report on the UK – titled A Worrying Trend – praised improvements “in some areas and the presence of a robust independent media”, but overall condemned the government’s “heavy-handed approach towards the press, often in the name of national security”.

Reporters Without Borders has named the UK the worst country in Western Europe for press freedom in its annual World Index — the only other core European Union country to score poorer being Italy.

The organisation ranks the UK 33rd out of 180 countries in the world, behind Jamaica, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Surinam, Namibia, Latvia, Cabo Verde and Ghana — not states typically associated with thriving and open media cultures — and far lower than its nearest European neighbours, including Ireland (15th), the Netherlands (4th), Belgium (9th) and Germany (13th).

​”The menacing Investigatory Powers Act remained on the books with insufficient protection mechanisms for whistleblowers, journalists, and their sources. In September, the UK’s mass surveillance regime was found to violate the European Convention on Human Rights, including with respect to the protection of journalistic sources. New counter-terrorism and crime legislation was introduced that would restrict reporting and put journalists’ data — and their ability to guarantee source protection — at risk. The government continued to explore means of restricting encryption tools,”…

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