Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“The UK stands with journalists in Russia and around the world who face persecution in the pursuit of truth. We are committed to holding those who would silence debate or restrict press freedoms to account.”

James Cleverly, FCDO Secretary of State, X Post

Facts

On 2 November 2022 FCDO Secretary of State, James Cleverly posted on X “The UK stands with journalists in Russia and around the world who face persecution in the pursuit of truth. We are committed to holding those who would silence debate or restrict press freedoms to account.”

According to respected press monitoring group Reporters Without Borders Britain rates 24th on the World Press Freedom Index.  

As of 2022, it explains: “Worrisome governmental legislative proposals, extensive restrictions on freedom of information, the prolonged detention of Julian Assange, and threats to the safety of journalists in Northern Ireland have impacted the UK’s press freedom record”

Reporters Without Borders continues to say “A worrying political climate continued to impact press freedom in the UK, including the revival of an alarming proposal for reforms to official secrets laws that could see journalists jailed for ‘espionage’. Journalists faced extensive freedom of information restrictions, with reports surfacing of a secretive government clearing house for freedom of information requests. Allegations of attempted governmental interference surrounded the failed appointment of Paul Dacre as chair of Ofcom, the UK’s communications regulator.

“Wikileaks publisher Julian Assange has remained detained at Belmarsh prison as the US government’s extradition request to prosecute him for publishing information of public interest continues, impacting both countries’ press freedom records. A proliferation of Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs) has helped make London the “defamation capital of the world”, with journalists from the UK and around the world forced to defend their reporting in British courts.”

Verdict

James Cleverly made a similar comment on the importance of freedom of the press in 2020 (see here).

We emailed James Cleverly’s office offering him the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. We also emailed the Home Office with our analysis, they responded “I’m afraid we can only respond to media outlets, so this wouldn’t be one for us.”

Published 28 Jun 2024
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