London police official warns journalists not to publish leaks on pain of imprisonment

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2019/07/13/twitter-diplomacy.html

4 Likes

“My bosses got egg on their faces and they don’t like that!” :roll_eyes:

15 Likes

they’re not a democracy don’t have our freedoms :us:

3 Likes

“The publication of leaked communications, knowing the damage they have caused or are likely to cause may also be a criminal matter.”

While our prez’s ineptitude, insecurity, and incompetence certainly borders on criminality, it’s not like publishing opinions about his performance is going to mitigate any damage he’s already done.

Besides, this impinges on freedom of speech in its truest spirit.

13 Likes

But it would be perfectly appropriate for them to publish say Trump’s leaked tax returns.

No UK laws being broken.

19 Likes

“That’s another of those irregular verbs, isn’t it? I give confidential press briefings; you leak; he’s being charged under section 2A of the Official Secrets Act.”

Bernard Woolley Yes, Minister

I would welcome firm enforcement of the Official Secrets Act, so long as cabinet members and government officials are held to the same rigid and unyielding standards.

17 Likes

The Official Secrets Act is not to protect secrets, but officials.

Sir Humphrey Appleby ibid.

19 Likes

yeah let’s get this 5 eyed circle jerk doing something useful and dox each other’s corrupt officials :100:

7 Likes

I wonder whether you’re being sarcastic…

Just in case : you should be aware the USA are not a Democracy, and never has been. The political system was very specifically designed to not be one. Madison explains it plainly in the ‘Federalist Papers’, saying that they wrote the US constitution to have a Republic as opposed to a Democracy.
The essential point was to say that Democracy meant mob rule, whereas a Republic would allow ‘the best’ to come into power and be able to do what the people at large really wanted. In other word, Aristocracy in the fundamental meaning of the word (aristos : the best).

To go back to the main point itself: why the hell would those in charge allow their power to be weakened by a supposed ‘freedom’ of the people (that of being properly informed) if they can do anything about it. Here, ‘anything’ means threatening the messenger. They’ll only stop when when an equal or superior power stops them (like, for instance, direct action of some sort of a sufficiently large portion of the population). To go back to Madison and the ‘Federalist’, laws not backed by power are no better than the paper they’re written on.

5 Likes

i was.

semantics of democracy vs republic aside, we vote for our leaders and have the right to say what we want about them. the uk does not.

2 Likes

Although, hours later,

10 Likes

voting and keeping the government from abridging speech are independent quantities. there are tons of examples of the us government illegally restricting or targeting speech ( and the freedom of association ) - sometimes the us public supported those restrictions, sometimes the public opposed them.

are you saying the brits don’t vote because they have a parliament or something?

the Representation of the People Acts of 1918 and 1928 gave the vote to all men and women over the age of 21.

before that there were property and gender restrictions, just like the us had.

whole timeline here:

11 Likes

The ambassador was doing his job. Nothing corrupt about it. Yes, it certainly flout’s Julian Assange philosophy on secrets, but in the end, Assange’s philosophy doesn’t make sense.

5 Likes

UK: 33
USA: 48

UK: Score 93
US: Score 86


The USA isn’t freedom of speech paradise. It just restricts other forms of speech as western european countries.



Yeah, that worked out fine with Trump 2016 and Bushs election in 2000.

11 Likes

The only proper response a UK journalist can make is to RELEASE ALL THE LEAKS!

2 Likes

I’m not sure what you mean by that. We are a parliamentary democracy with regular, more or less free and fair elections. The first-past-the-post system does produce odd results, but I believe no more so than yours. And while we have far more draconian libel laws, British politicians are (usually) reluctant to use them against critics, and are accustomed to being the subject of often vicious caricatures. See the cover of pretty much any edition of Private Eye, for example.

14 Likes

It might not be funny, but the Eye certainly serves a useful purpose that way.

7 Likes

Likely next PM AB de Pfeffel J had a grand total of 23,716 people vote for him, so 99.96% of the UK population did not vote for him. So, technically @acrostic is correct.

W/r to “say what we want”, they might be thinking of the “insult” clause of Section 5 Public Order Act, which was finally removed (with great reluctance) in 2014.

British politicians are (usually) reluctant to use them against critics…see the cover of pretty much any edition of Private Eye, for example.

Kind of a funny example, given how often Ian Hislop has been sued.

As for the subject of the thread, I think a distinction needs to be made between the leaker and the press. These leaks did cause harm with no positive effect, and if the leaker was a government employee s/he violated a condition of employment and should probably get at least a reprimand (and lose their job). The press, however, should be free to publish, these threats against them were misguided.

2 Likes

i meant that in america journalists can publish materials given to them without the chief of police threatening them, hth

1 Like

as opposed to the us, where presidents ( current and past ) threaten journalists over leaks?

more than a few journalists have gone to jail for refusing to out sources

example:

The Supreme Court has not directly addressed whether journalists have protections from subpoenas since its 1972 ruling in Branzburg v. Hayes. In that 5-to-4 decision, the court ruled that the First Amendment provided no such protection against grand jury subpoenas.

5 Likes