As Britain falls down the press freedom index, the Data Protection Bill could end it altogether

May 9, 2018 by

by Archbishop Cranmer:

“We note with dismay the UK’s poor ranking in the latest Reporters Without Borders world press freedom index,” wrote Jodie Ginsberg, CEO if Index on Censorship, in a letter to the Evening Standard last week. “It is galling to see the UK ranking only 40th among 180 countries, second-worst in Western Europe,” she continued. “It has dropped 18 places since the index began in 2002.”

And it will plunge further still if certain amendments are accepted to the Data Protection Bill, which comes before the House of Commons this week. Spiked Online has summarised the danger:

What intelligent, reasonable politician could possibly think it’s a good idea to make newspapers pay the costs of litigation against them even if they win? So if (say) The Spectator refuses to sign up to this state regulator, it would only take a series of vexatious cases brought by the Welsh against Rod Liddle to bankrupt the magazine and have it shut it down. Quite how impoverished local newspapers could survive is unknown. Actually, it isn’t unknown: they couldn’t possibly survive. Nor would they survive the potential fines which could be imposed as a result of the misuse of data.

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