The Communications Data Bill and freedom of the press

Martin Belam by Martin Belam, 4 December 2012

The British press don’t seem to be treating the Communications Data Bill as a threat to their freedom. Perhaps they should be.

Is it just me?

Last week the press were in full battle cry about freedom of speech. So were MPs. Any law that impinged upon the status of our free press was unacceptable and a betrayal of hundred of years of principled Britishness, whatever Leveson thought.

This week, on the agenda, the Communications Data Bill.

And suddenly our press are more coy about freedom of speech for the man or woman on the street. No cosy meetings at Number 10 for the rest of us. Just a licence to snoop. The Sun even rolled out the red carpet for a Theresa May interview about how dangerous the world will be if we don’t hand these powers over to the state.

So is it just me?

Isn’t a result of this proposal also that every electronic contact between every journalist and every source will be logged, stored, identifiable and made available on request to the state? A trace of every single email going in and out of every newspaper in the land to be registered? Every text sent between newspaper executives and politicians being noted and kept on a file somewhere?

How isn’t that a threat to the freedom of our press?

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