MEDIA

Alan Rusbridger's Parliamentary Hearing Prompts Outrage From Press Freedom Watchers

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger's upcoming appearance at a parliamentary terrorism hearing has prompted concern from news outlets and journalists in America and around the world.

Rusbridger will testify about his paper's national security reporting and its handling of the Edward Snowden documents in a hearing of the Home Affairs committee. The hearing comes amid a series of actions against the press by the British government that have attracted international condemnation.

The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, along with organizations including the New York Times, the Associated Press, the American Society of News Editors and the World Association of Newspapers and News, wrote a letter to the committee urging it to "use the occasion of Mr. Rusbridger's appearance to
reaffirm Britain's commitment to a vigorous, free, and independent press."

The letter also expressed express "grave concern over pointed calls by those in authority for censorship of The Guardian and criminal prosecution of its journalists in the name of national security."

In addition, the Guardian published an open letter to Rusbridger from Carl Bernstein, who called the very existence of the hearing "dangerously pernicious," adding:

Rather than hauling in journalists for questioning and trying to intimidate them, the Commons would do well to encourage and join that debate over how the vast electronic intelligence-gathering capabilities of the modern security-state can be employed in a manner that gives up little or nothing to real terrorists and real enemies and skilfully uses all our technological capabilities to protect us, while at the same time taking every possible measure to insure that these capabilities are not abused in a way that would abrogate the rights and privacy of law-abiding citizens.

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