THE UK government is hell-bent on using the just-agreed Royal Charter for the regulation of the media to impose a system of state control over the media.
Its fundamental purpose is not to curb the tabloid media, which after all supplied Cameron with his Downing Street press chief Coulson, but to prevent the press from exposing the government’s criminal spying programmes.
The Murdoch empire was hacking celebrities, and it took many years to even begin to take it to task. The NSA and GCHQ are hacking the world, and are now going to have Royal Charter to try to hide this criminal activity.
The essence of the issue of press freedom is now emerging. The UK government has just labelled the partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald a ‘terrorist’ for possessing some of the NSA’s mass spying documents that were released by the whistle-blower Snowden.
The British government through its Prime Minister David Cameron has openly told the world through the House of Commons that he will take action to censor the Guardian, and muzzle it and its editors, if the newspaper continues to let the world know what the NSA and the GCHQ spying agencies have been getting up to.
Cameron told the House of Commons: ‘We have a free press. It’s very important the press feels it is not pre-censored from what it writes and all the rest of it.’
However: ‘If they don’t demonstrate some social responsibility, it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act.’
Cameron added: ‘The approach we have taken is to try to talk to the press and explain how damaging some of these things can be.’
He applauded the Guardian’s decision to accede to a request from the government to destroy some of the leaked files, and allow computer hard drives to be smashed, but added: ‘But they’ve now gone on and printed further material which is damaging.
‘I don’t want to have to use injunctions or D notices or the other tougher measures.
‘I think it’s much better to appeal to newspapers’ sense of social responsibility.
‘But if they don’t demonstrate some social responsibility, it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act.’
The government has already begun to act with the Queen’s approval of the Royal Press Charter.
David Miranda, the partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, was detained for nearly nine hours in the country under the claimed authority of an anti-terrorism statute called Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act.
This week in London, at a court hearing for Miranda’s lawsuit, a document called a ‘Ports Circulation Sheet’, prepared by Scotland Yard in consultation with the MI5 counter-intelligence agency, was read into the record.
The Sheet was given to British border posts ahead of Miranda’s arrival in August, and stated that ‘Intelligence indicates that Miranda is likely to be involved in espionage activity which has the potential to act against the interests of UK national security.’
The US organises drone strikes to silence people ‘guilty’ of less!
The Sheet added: ‘We assess that Miranda is knowingly carrying material the release of which would endanger people’s lives. Additionally, the disclosure, or threat of disclosure, is designed to influence a government and is made for the purpose of promoting a political or ideological cause. This therefore falls within the definition of terrorism.’
It is clear that the state would like to be able to give the likes of Miranda very long jail sentences, combined with a deadly intimidation of one kind or another as required.
The equating of whistleblowing journalism with terrorism reveals the content of the just approved Royal Charter. In a moment of real or manufactured national crisis, it can be turned into the means for banning and proscribing ‘terrorist newspapers’.
Press freedom today requires a socialist revolution to put an end to a capitalist system that is now making George Orwell’s 1984 nightmare look like a very pale anticipation.