WikiLeaks, Secrecy and Freedom of Information: The Case of the United Kingdom

Brevini, Hintz, McCurdy (eds), Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society, Pallgrave MacMillan, 2013

13 Pages Posted: 15 Jan 2013 Last revised: 8 Sep 2013

David Banisar

ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression

Francesca Fanucci

Free Expression Associates

Date Written: March 29, 2013

Abstract

The bulk releases of internal information about US military and foreign affairs by WikiLeaks were a shock to American officials in their scope and scale. However, so far, despite the public anger showed by the US government and immediate action against the lone alleged leaker, no new legislation restricting free expression rights has been adopted by Congress and signed by the president.

Clearly, the WikiLeaks saga has triggered a vigorous debate far beyond the borders of the United States. In the United Kingdom, where Julian Assange has been very active – given his collaboration with UK-based news outlets and his participation to in numerous public discussions – WikiLeaks has renewed the debate on the balance between secrecy and openness and the prospects for reform.

Because the United Kingdom presents a significantly different appreciation of openness and freedom of speech when compared to the United States, we decided to explore what would happen if a similar release of information were to occur in the United Kingdom. Hence, this chapter sets out to explore the comprehensive system of secrecy engrained in the British government, the legislative framework that characterizes it, and the past and current efforts made to promote a culture of openness.

Keywords: national security, freedom of information, state secrets, transparency, Wikileaks, official secrets

Suggested Citation

Banisar, David and Fanucci, Francesca, WikiLeaks, Secrecy and Freedom of Information: The Case of the United Kingdom (March 29, 2013). Brevini, Hintz, McCurdy (eds), Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society, Pallgrave MacMillan, 2013 . Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2200461

David Banisar

ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression ( email )

60 Farringdon Road
London, EC1R 1UQ
United Kingdom

Francesca Fanucci (Contact Author)

Free Expression Associates ( email )

155
Commercial Street
London, E1 6BJ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.foeassociates.com

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