School of Law

Professor Clive Walker presents paper on ‘The Perils of Investigative Journalism post 9/11’

30 March 2015 |

On 10 and 11 March Professor Emeritus Clive Walker attended an international conference at the Universite Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne titled: “Freedom of Information, and Governmental Transparency in an Open Government era”.

Professor Walker presented a paper on 'Journalist or Terrorist? The perils of investigative journalism post-9/11' He explained how the threat of terrorism works in two ways against journalism. First, the stance of terrorists towards journalists seems to have become much more hostile. It is bad enough to be under attack from terrorism, but what his paper was mainly concerned with is the growing attack from the security state when it is countering terrorism.

The core purpose of the paper is first to compile some evidence of this counter-terrorism threat to journalism. It is argued that a three-pronged attack emerges. First, there is the criminalization of journalistic activities. Thus, the process of obtaining information and distilling it into news stories becomes depicted as a terrorist threat to the state. This first part of the paper considers as the prime example the case of David Miranda.

Second, there is the demand for information from the activities of journalism. In this way, journalism is coerced into serving state interests.

Third, and perhaps most insidious of all, there is a demand for proactive information-giving from the media to the security authorities. In the UK, there is again an element of criminal coercion through anti-terrorism laws which is admittedly not common elsewhere in the Western world). But the alleged duty of the media to provide information proactively without demand has become more broad and more shrill.

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