Guardian editor to be grilled over Snowden

2013-12-03 16:57
Guardian newspaper editor Alan Rusbridger. (Leon Neal, AFP)

Guardian newspaper editor Alan Rusbridger. (Leon Neal, AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - The editor of Britain's Guardian newspaper, Alan Rusbridger, is to appear before lawmakers on Tuesday to defend his newspaper's publication of intelligence documents leaked by former US intelligence analyst Edward Snowden.

Parliament's home affairs committee is questioning Rusbridger as part of its investigation into counter-terrorism; amid claims the newspaper endangered national security by publishing details of US and British spying.

Britain's top spy chiefs warned last month that al-Qaeda and other enemies were "lapping up" Snowden's revelations and were using them to change the way they operate.

The Guardian counters that its stories sparked an important debate about intelligence, privacy and freedom of speech. It insists it has handled all the information sensitively.

Ahead of the parliamentary hearing, Rusbridger, aged 59, tweeted a "v[ery] nice letter" of support from Carl Bernstein, the veteran US journalist who helped break the Watergate scandal.

Call for debates

Bernstein said the hearing appeared to be "an attempt by the highest UK authorities to shift the issue from government policies and excessive government secrecy in the United States and Great Britain to the conduct of the press".

"Rather than hauling in journalists for questioning and trying to intimidate them, the [House of] Commons would do well to encourage and join that debate," he added.

The index on censorship campaign group raised similar concerns in an open letter to the chairperson of the home affairs committee, opposition Labour lawmaker Keith Vaz.


"We are concerned that rather than a debate being opened up, the focus has instead been on criticising the Guardian's work, with even the prime minister threatening to take action against the newspaper if it did not take 'social responsibility'," Index chief executive Kirsty Hughes wrote.

The revelations in the Guardian, the Washington Post and Germany's Der Spiegel are based on files leaked by Snowden, a former contractor with the US National Security Agency who is currently in Russia with temporary asylum.

Over the past six months they have laid bare the scale of spying by the US and other countries, often on their own allies, in some cases sparking major diplomatic rows.

Founded in 1821, the Guardian sells around 200 000 copies a day, low by British standards but the leftist broadsheet is politically influential and has a free-to-access website which is hugely popular around the world.

Read more on:    nsa  |  al-qaeda  |  edward snowden  |  privacy

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.