“We are deeply shocked by the British government’s culpable persecution of the Guardian’s journalists,” Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Christophe Deloire said today.
“The day before yesterday, Glenn Greenwald’s partner was detained and interrogated at London’s Heathrow Airport under the Terrorism Act. Now the Guardian has revealed that the UK authorities forced it to destroy computer hard drives containing documents provided by Edward Snowden.
“The enforced destruction of documents, carried out in the newspaper’s basement under the supervision of intelligence officials, was an extremely grave violation of freedom of information in a country that prides itself on having one the freest presses in the world.”
Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger revealed yesterday that British government officials threatened the newspaper with judicial proceedings if it continued to report on the UK and US governments’ surveillance practices.
Last June, a senior official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister demanded the destruction of the material that the Guardian was using for its revelations. The newspaper finally complied, but Rusbridger said Guardian journalists based outside the UK have digital copies of the same documents.