xer-files
Monday, May 29, 2006
  Spying the Press
Fringe Special - Surveillance of the press

Freedom of the press is one of the pillars of parliamentary democracy. However, the systematic monitoring of the press and the use of journalists by the intelligence and security services is, sadly, not confined to history. As far as the monitoring is concerned, the watershed has been the War on Terror.

In the last months, there has been an upsurge of articles on press restrictions, surveillance and manipulation of journalists by the intelligence services.

In the US: spying on the press, monitoring and prosecuting civil servants who have contact with the press.

In Germany there seems to have been a systematic surveillance of the press for more than a decade. This is developing into a political scandal of the first degree. [This affair is the main reason for publishing this Fringe Special].


In the Netherlands, of course nothing of the kind happens here. Of course there is the odd incident once in a while. Recently there has been a local version of this domestication process. It concerns the Telegraaf, a mainstream right wing and by far the biggest, newspaper in the Netherlands.

But fortunately, as our intelligence community, the government and the parliament inform us in unison, our AIVD is not comparable with the BND, the CIA and the FBI. So no need for vigilance, just relax. Meanwhile AIVD and AIVD-methods are being put to use in the police investigations on the Telegraaf and their journalists. Our parliamentary guardians of democracy seem to have forgotten that the use of intel methods in police investigations is forbidden by law.

All the best, the Fringe editors


 
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