Earlier this year, a 27-year-old British student named Erol Incedal was acquitted of terrorism charges. But if a reporter who witnessed the trial talks about it, he’ll be the one going to jail.
This is the bizarre situation faced by Ian Cobain, a journalist who works for The Guardian. He was allowed to observe the case, but is now forbidden by British authorities from discussing it.
“I know the essence of what was happening,” Mr. Cobain told The New York Times, “but I can’t tell, I can’t even talk to my editor about this.”
To make matters worse, if Cobain was ever charged with disclosing the classified information, his trail would also be held in secret.
“Not even the Russians do that to journalists,” Mr. Cobain said.
Notes that were taken by journalists who witnessed the trail, including Cobain, are still being held by MI5. The secret trial, and others like, are drawing complaints of government overreach, and have caused a renewed debate about where to draw the line between press freedom and national security.
“How is the public to evaluate the state’s actions if the media cannot report on it?” said Cian C. Murphy of King’s College London.
(Source: The New York Times)