Tuesday, 16 August 2011

UK Riots: RWB fears on social media restrictions

Press freedom campaign group Reporters Without Borders has added its voice to concerns about police being provided with personal data of BlackBerry Messenger service users and possible restrictions on social media in the wake of the riots in the UK.

RWB has also come out against Prime Minister David Cameron's request that tv companies should give police riot film that has not been broadcast.

The campaign group says it believes that giving personal data of BlackBerry Messenger service users to the police "sets a disturbing precedent in a western country and could have significant consequences as regards setting an example for others kinds of government".

RWB says it is also shocked by the statements of several politicians asking BlackBerry to consider suspending its messaging service stating: "This is an astonishing suggestion in a democracy, one with potentially grave consequences. The threats to freedoms are now real".

It has urged the British authorities to rule out any possibility of shutting down or drastically restricting the use of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.

RWB also takes what it describes as "a very dim view" of Prime Minister David Cameron’s suggestion that leading TV broadcasters have a duty to hand over unused footage of the rioting to the police as "this would turn them into police auxiliaries and seriously endanger their independence".

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