Cameron says may act against press over spy leaks

LONDON Mon Oct 28, 2013 5:16pm GMT

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during his PM Direct visit to the Mini plant in Oxford, central England October 28, 2013. REUTERS/Ben Birchall/pool

Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron speaks during his PM Direct visit to the Mini plant in Oxford, central England October 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Ben Birchall/pool

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LONDON (Reuters) - David Cameron threatened on Monday to act to stop newspapers publishing what he called damaging leaks from former U.S. intelligence operative Edward Snowden.

"If they don't demonstrate some social responsibility it will be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act," Cameron told parliament.

Britain's Guardian newspaper had printed damaging material after initially agreeing to destroy other sensitive data, he said.

Cameron on Friday accused Snowden and unnamed newspapers of assisting Britain's enemies by helping them avoid surveillance by its intelligence services, saying it was going to be harder to keep Britain safe as a result.

Disclosures about the activities of Britain's GCHQ eavesdropping agency and its cooperation with America's National Security Agency (NSA) have embarrassed the government and angered many lawmakers in Cameron's ruling Conservative party who believe they have harmed national security.

While making clear his patience was running out, Cameron told lawmakers his preference was not to get heavy-handed with newspapers that published such information and that he hoped they would change their behaviour instead.

"I don't want to have to use injunctions or D-notices (publication bans) or the other tougher measures. I think it's much better to appeal to newspapers' sense of social responsibility," he said.

(Reporting By Andrew Osborn; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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Comments (8)
high_isp wrote:
Social responsibility? I don’t think there has ever been a time when papers (no news, just opinion, these days) exercised anything of the kind. Papers allow journos, editors and oh-so-righteous owners, unfettered access to the public ear to air their unwanted opinions: a right no other section of society has. They therefore are overpowered and under-regulated. Anyone supporting a fully unregulated free press should think again.

Oct 28, 2013 5:50pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
Agentc wrote:
The guardians response should be “Go for it”.

seriously, if DC wants to prove just how irrelevant he is to the modern would he should do just that.

And when its published everywhere else in the world, and on the Guardian’s foreign websites he will be revealed as a laughing stock.

Oct 28, 2013 6:19pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
Raymond.Vermont wrote:
Could Mr Cameron please make public a definitive list of whom are Britain’s enemies. (giving reasoning)

Of course the obvious one is a stateless actor, which just happens to be HQ’d inside of Pakistan and financed by Islamic patrons.

So why not issue a travel ban for all Britons going to/from Pakistan, and certain Arabian states?

Oct 28, 2013 9:25pm GMT  --  Report as abuse
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