The UK government has been compared to a fascist state on the back of news that journalists could face prison sentences of up to 14 years for publishing stories that embarrass the Government.
The Daily Mail reports that should this law have already been in effect, the journalists responsible for the Matt Hancock leak could very well be facing prison time.
The home secretary is a busy woman these days. Whether she is crafting controversial new immigration laws or criticizing the taking of the knee, Patel is constantly in the political spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Her new motion, which closes this week, would see reporters who handle leaked documents face the slammer under new regulation thought to crack down on foreign agents.
The 1989 act is being updated to account for the internet and wireless transferring systems.”Since the passage of the Act in 1989, there have been unprecedented developments in communications technology (including data storage and rapid data transfer tools) which in our view, means that unauthorized disclosures are now capable of causing far more serious damage than would have been possible previously.
“As a result, we do not consider that there is necessarily a distinction in severity between espionage and the most serious unauthorized disclosures, in the same way, that there was in 1989.
“Although there are differences in the mechanics of and motivations behind espionage and unauthorized disclosure offenses, there are cases where an unauthorized disclosure may be as or more serious, in terms of intent and/or damage.
“For example, documents made available online can now be accessed and utilized by a wide range of hostile actors simultaneously, whereas espionage will often only be to the benefit of a single state or actor.
“In severe cases, the unauthorized disclosure of the identities of agents working for the UK intelligence community, for example, could directly lead to an imminent and serious threat to life.”
Because the Matt Hancock scandal relied heavily on leaked CCTV footage, those responsible could very well have faced jail time if this motion had passed sooner.
That leaves quite a bit of wiggle room for prosecutors to go after journalists by questioning the shadowy motives behind press leaks.
It’s just the latest threat to emerge against European journalists. Just days ago, the UN commented on the growing use of digital surveillance using software like Pegasus, the surveillance software developed by Israel’s NSO group, to spy on journalists and dignitaries alike.
There’s definitely one thing the two sides can agree on: the nature of spying and information gathering has changed substantially since 1989, the last time these laws were updated.