Defence Against Snowden…Government are thought to be considering compulsory censorship of the press

Posted: 27 January, 2014 in UK Government Censorship
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See article from theguardian.com

mod logoGovernment officials are planning to review the historic D-notice system, which warns the media not to publish intelligence that might damage security, in the wake of the Guardian’s stories about mass surveillance by the security services based on leaks from the US whistleblower Edward Snowden .

Sources said Jon Thompson, the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Defence, was setting up an inquiry into the future of the committee, raising fears that the voluntary censorship system also known as the DA-notice could be made compulsory.

The committee is supposed to be consulted when news organisations are considering publishing material relating to secret intelligence or the military. It is staffed by senior civil servants and media representatives, who give advice on the publication of sensitive stories. Minutes of a recent meeting reveal the comment: The events of the last few months had undoubtedly raised questions in some minds about the system’s future usefulness.

In his latest report, its secretary, Air Vice-Marshal Andrew Vallance, raised concerns about the parallel publication of Snowden’s revelations by newspapers around the world, noting that at the outset the Guardian had avoided engaging with the DA-notice system before publishing the first tranche of information .

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