It’s no secret that leakers of confidential information, once referred to more nobly as ‘sources’ or whistleblowers, are now being treated as bona fide terrorists by the government, as well as most mainstream newsmedia and a considerable self-hating faction of the population that simply loves to be lied to. This, while disturbing by nature of its own defiance of the common good, pales in comparison to the fact that not only journalists but entire media outlets across the globe are now being intimidated in an attempt to drive their coverage back towards kitten .gifs and Kardashian babies (sponsored by Subway).
David Miranda, the romantic partner of Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald (a leading detractor of opaque mass surveillance and the first to publish information from Snowden), was recently detained and questioned for 9 hours about his “entire life” at a UK airport before being released without charge. Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000, under which he was held, allows authorities to question travelers who are ‘not considered suspects,’ therefore creating a loophole in the guarantee of rights typically afforded to, um, suspects (such as access to a lawyer, or the right to remain silent). It has not yet been revealed what Miranda is ‘not a suspect’ of, but he has taken legal action against the UK Home Office in light of what he insists was wrongful detention.
In the passing weeks, we have seen an egregiously self-effacing show of spinelessness from some ‘journalists’ who have called for both Greenwald’s arrest and Julian Assange’s drone-faciliated death in light of the information which each man has dragged, kicking and screaming, into the public eye. Each of the two are lucky to fall within an increasingly narrow margin of society, aka reporters with enough progressive backing behind them that they have the financial and technological means to protect their sources and stand up to the pressures leveled against them by governments. This says nothing of the multiple reports this week alone that have other, entirely unrelated journalists, and even editors of respected outlets, being arrested for doing their job: being somewhere, and reporting on it.
These stories, along with state agencies’ widespread surveillance and increasingly fewer and ever-shifting failproof options for the security-minded, are evidence of judicial overreach that, by design, straight decimates free citizens’ right to redistribute information back to the public without the government’s express approval. If being in a relationship with a journalist means one might be considered a terrorism suspect, does being a journalist basically make you a terrorist? Because ‘shut up’ and ‘martyr up’ are swiftly becoming the the field’s only two options.