Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Seminar 3 Position Statement: John Lloyd, Reuters Institute, Univ. of Oxford

by John Lloyd

Senior Research Fellow, Reuters Institute, Univ. of Oxford

Contributing Editor, Financial Times;

Columnist, Reuters. com; La Repubblica, Rome.

Chairman of the Advisory Council, Moscow School of Civic Enlightenment

Wikileaks, and especially the NSA leaks, face journalism with  particular challenges, both new and familiar.

First is that which has been posed most clearly by Glenn Greenwald, who argues (with others) that the Snowden revelations have moved journalism into a new era: from being merely sceptical about authority, especially that of governments, journalists should become overtly suspicious of, even hostile to, the state and especially the intelligence services. The rationale for this is that they have both hidden, and lied about, programmes of monitoring domestic and foreign citizens' communications in the name of security.  They have lost all rights to an implied trust.

Second, assuming this position above isn't taken,  is the choice which must be made by editors as to what to publish and what not to publish - that is, how far and on what grounds should editors acceded to requests by governments not to publish material which is said by the intelligence services to be harmful to national security and/or dangerous to intelligence officers?

Third, as the intelligence world becomes more complex, how far are journalists competent to understand the criteria and processes used by the intelligence agencies - and thus how far should they seek closer relationships in order to grasp more fully the nature of the work, with the attendant danger that they would be consciously or unconsciously co-opted into the agencies' world and lose distance from their subjects?

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