14 Feb 2019 Lvl. 2
Alert created on: 25 Sep 2018 n° 103/2018 United Kingdom
Media Freedom Advocates Raise Alarm over UK Counter-Terror Bill
The Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill - proposed legislation which critics argue will have a significant negative impact on media freedom in addition to other freedoms - is under consideration in Parliament. The bill would criminalise publishing - for example, by posting on social media - a picture or video clip of items such as clothes or a flag in a way that raises “reasonable suspicion” that the person doing it is a member or supporter of a terrorist organisation. It would also criminalise watching online content that is likely to be helpful for terrorism. No terrorist intent would be required. The offence would carry a prison sentence of up to 15 years. Freedom of expression campaigners and media organisations have pointed out that the clause relating to online content will severely impede the work of investigative journalists.
14 Feb 2019
On 12 February 2019, the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act came into force. Improvements were made to the draft law aiming to protect journalistic activity, but concerns remain about the Act’s implications for media freedom. Clause 2 criminalises the publication of pictures or video of clothing or an article such as a flag in a way that raises “reasonable suspicion” that the person doing so is a member or supporter of a terrorist organisation.
- Report published by Index on Censorship: Freedom of Expression and the Counter-terrorism and Border Security Act
- Letter from the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism
- Letter from the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
- Mapping Media Freedom report: "United Kingdom: Counter-terror bill raises media freedom fears"
- Joint Committee on Human Rights, Legislative Scrutiny of the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill
03 Dec 2018
United Kingdom Government's response
03 Oct 2018
OSCE Representative expresses concerns regarding draft UK Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Bill, urges Government to safeguard media freedom.