World Association of News Publishers

Press Freedom Under Attack in the UK - Special Dossier

Press Freedom Under Attack in the UK - Special Dossier

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WAN-IFRA is seriously disturbed by the perceived slide in press freedom witnessed in the UK over recent months. In this special section of our website, we provide resources and information regarding our campaign to uphold freedom of expression in Great Britain.

Press Freedom in the United Kingdom - WAN-IFRA report

(17/03/2014) WAN-IFRA today launches its latest press freedom report outlining findings from its January mission to the United Kingdom. The unprecedented visit investigated international implications of proposed changes to UK press regulation, as well as the chilling nature of government pressure applied to the Guardian newspaper following its publication of online surveillance stories. Read more

Joint Letter to Prime Minister David Cameron

(18/02/2014) The Coordinating Committee of Press Freedom Organisations met in London following the WAN-IFRA press freedom mission to the United Kingdom (15-16 January 2014), and agreed to issue the following joint statement. Read more

World’s Press Examines UK Press Freedom

(17/01/2014) Responding to international concerns surrounding the situation for press freedom in the United Kingdom, the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) has concluded a series of high-profile meetings with prominent individuals and leading organisations representing multiple interests during a two-day fact-finding visit to London, held over 15-16 January. Read more

Global Press Freedoms Organisations begin Press Freedom Mission to the United Kingdom

(15/01/2014) Amid deep international concern about press freedoms in the United Kingdom, an unprecedented international mission to London begins today to investigate the British government’s actions relating to newspaper regulation and the handling of revelations of state surveillance. Read more

World’s Media Call on Queen to Reject Royal Charter

(24/10/2013) A group of leading global press freedom and media organisations have written an open letter to Queen Elizabeth II asking her to reject a proposed Royal Charter that would impose repressive statutory controls on the British press.  

“For more than three centuries since Britain abolished the last set of statutory controls on the press in 1695, the United Kingdom has been a consistent champion of the most crucial freedom of all - freedom of expression – and a beacon of liberty across the world,” said the letter, signed by seven international media organisations.  Click here to read story in full. 

Press regulation update: Cameron calls for compromise

(18/08/2013) British Prime Minister David Cameron used an appearance in front of the Commons Liaison Committee to call on fellow party leaders to reach a compromise on press regulation. While Mr Cameron’s new glasses fascinated at least one news outlet reporting on the event, the PM’s address to members of parliament could have significant consequences for Britain’s press.

World's press protests against destruction of Guardian newspaper hard drives and apparent decline in press freedom of UK

(26/08/2013) WAN-IFRA expresses its dismay at the UK government’s decision to pursue the threat of legal action should the Guardian not hand over or destroy computer hard drives, in a bid to prevent the publication of reports based on the leaked files supplied by National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden.

"We call on you to reaffirm the United Kingdom’s commitment to a free and independent press."

(23/08/2013) In a letter addressed to British Prime Minister David Cameron, WAN-IFRA expresses deep concern at the actions of government officials that led to the destruction of computer hard drives at the offices of the Guardian newspaper on 20 July, 2013. Read more...

It is time to enshrine press freedom as an immutable right in the UK

(22/08/2013) Unsurprisingly, the desperate attempts to catch or silence Edward Snowden extend far beyond normal ‘legal’ recourse. For those in power, flouting the rules and being exposed for doing so has had few repercussions aside from stimulating ferocious public debate. Now even that is under threat, and UK democracy is worse off as a result. Read more...

"The UK government has ignored the numerous concerns raised by press freedom and human rights groups worldwide."

(15/04/2013) In a letter addressed to British Prime Minister David Cameron, WAN-IFRA raised concerns regarding the proposed Royal Charter on Self-Regulation of the Press and the effect it will have on the independent press in the United Kingdom and worldwide. Read more...

Leading International Groups Condemn UK Plans For Statutory Regulation

(02/2013) The Coordinating Committee of Press Freedom Organizations, made up of leading international groups that defend and promote the freedom and independence of the media worldwide, wrote jointly to the UK Prime Minister David Cameron to express deep concers over plans for the statutory regulation of the press. Read more...

Joint Letter to Members of Parliament

(24/01/2013) Members of the Coordinating Committee of Press Freedom organisations write to UK MPs urging them to resist statutory regulation of the British press. Read more...

 Coverage from the Editors Weblog:

UK newspaper industry puts forward rival royal charter

The vast majority of the UK newspaper industry has clubbed together to create and endorse their own proposal for a royal charter for press regulation in reaction to the cross-party royal charter published on 18 March.


"Small blogs" will be exempt from royal charter for press regulation

The UK government has finally settled on a definition of what constitutes a "micro business" that will be exempt from controversial plans to impose punitive damages on newspapers who refuse to join an approved press regulator.


A fortnight on: implications of the UK’s ‘Royal Charter on self-regulation of the press’

Two weeks on, the dust has settled and it is evident that the Royal Charter plan for press regulation – a proposal that, in the words of Lord Black of Brentwood, director of the Telegraph Media Group, was "cobbled together late at night over pizza and KitKats" by members of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties – has outraged members of the British news industry.

Newspapers react to press regulation compromise in UK

British newspapers disagree about the press regulation compromise that Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Conservative Cabinet Office Minister Oliver Letwin struck early Monday, which The Sun labeled “D-Day for press freedom.”

The Minister and the warning to the Telegraph

"There’s been huge hysteria in some branches of the press in the last two days, saying we’re going down the road of Zimbabwe, that we’re going to be another Kazakhstan – that’s nonsense."

Reactions to Leveson:

  • George Brock - Head of the Department of Journalism at City University London

Waiting for Leveson

"By golly, it’s political, this Leveson business." So says Quentin Letts, prolific freelance journalist writing for the Press Gazette, and it’s difficult to disagree with him.


The Daily Mail takes on Leveson: sorting the wheat from the chaff
A ‘dossier’ signaling an imminent ‘coup’ from that ‘incestuous […] quasi-masonic nexus’, the ‘Left’s old boy network’; it could only really be one UK newspaper, couldn’t it.



Andrew Heslop's picture

Andrew Heslop


2013-08-26 13:07

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In countless countries, journalists, editors and publishers are physically attacked, imprisoned, censored, suspended or harassed for their work. WAN-IFRA is committed to defending freedom of expression by promoting a free and independent press around the world. Read more ...