The UK Government announced on 23 February 2023 proposed amendments to the National Security Bill to protect journalistic freedoms and all other “legitimate activity”.
English PEN welcomes the Government’s recognition of the concerns for freedom of expression posed by the current draft of the National Security Bill and the introduction of amendments that aim to protect media freedom. Unfortunately, however, it is our assessment that the proposed amendments do not go far enough and crucially do not introduce a much-needed public interest defence. We join with freedom of expression and media freedom organisations, who have criticised the current draft of the bill for the absence of a public interest defence and the use of broad and vague definitions that risk exposing journalists.
We call on the UK Government to engage further with freedom of expression and media freedom organisations and to further revise the National Security Bill to protect freedom of expression and media freedom in the UK.