CIJ Director Responds to Observer Piece

    The 9 November Observer piece by Carole Cadwalladr was a good, accurate piece on  those journalists and hackers who have paid the price for writing/filming/ acting critically about the vast surveillance campaigns of GCHQ and the NSA. 

    Berlin as a refuge for the divergent, for privacy and internet freedom is a relatively new idea; but what is extraordinary is not Berlin but London where as a city, it is potentially dangerous for radicals, democrats and internet activists even to change planes.  

    Snowden was sadly convincing when saying that spying and unaccountable secret police intrusion in Britain is actually more extreme than the US. The effect on journalism and free speech is at least as pervasive and destructive. The admission that the police were illegally spying on lawyers and their clients is surprising only because it was published. We can be reasonably confident that not one official will pay a serious price for violating the fundamental rights of hundreds of plaintiffs and the integrity of the courts.

    It was a relief to read what Harrison, Poitras and Appelbaum have said, rather than a snide commentary about their dress sense or eating habits, which characterised much of the coverage of Julian Assange, who very much like those in Berlin, is trapped in the mechanics of repression.

    The issues raised by these articles will be discussed by many experts in this field at our forthcoming Symposium event at the Barbican Centre from the 5-7 December.