On Tuesday, Brazilian prosecutors charged Glenn Greenwald, the American journalist and co-founding editor of The Intercept, with computer crimes.
Bruce Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, made the following statement:
“For Brazil to invoke anti-hacking laws in an attempt to criminalize reporter-source communications, as well as the receipt and publication of newsworthy information, is a clear threat to press freedom. It carries dangers not only for American journalists reporting in the region but for journalists everywhere because these types of general laws are pervasive worldwide and governments around the globe are looking for new ways to squeeze reporters and cut off coverage they perceive as unfavorable.”
Gabe Rottman, director of the Technology and Press Freedom Project at the Reporters Committee, also said:
“Journalism is not a crime, and yet aggressive moves against the press using spying laws, computer crime statutes, or other criminal sanctions – including, for instance, this case in Brazil and the proliferation of ‘leak’ prosecutions in the United States – are increasingly forcing journalists to find criminal defense expertise, which they’ve never had to do before to this degree. Computer crime laws are particularly worrisome when applied to newsgathering because they are often vague and can be misused to cover innocuous activity – activity which in the U.S. also has constitutional protections.”
The Reporters Committee regularly files friend-of-the-court briefs and its attorneys represent journalists and news organizations pro bono in court cases that involve First Amendment freedoms, the newsgathering rights of journalists and access to public information. Stay up-to-date on our work by signing up for our monthly newsletter and following us on Twitter or Instagram.