'U.S. Surveillance Hampering Work Of Journalists And Lawyers'

WASHINGTON: The United States' large scale surveillance programme is hampering the work of U.S.-based journalists and lawyers, a report jointly prepared by two human rights groups said.

The report -- "With Liberty to Monitor All: How Large-Scale US Surveillance is Harming Journalism, Law, and American Democracy," -- is based on extensive interviews with dozens of journalists, lawyers, and senior U.S. officials.

Prepared by Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union, the report finds that government surveillance and secrecy are undermining press freedom, the publics right to information, and the right to counsel, all human rights essential to a healthy democracy.

Running into 120 pages, the report documents how national security journalists and lawyers are adopting elaborate steps or otherwise modifying their practices to keep communications, sources, and other confidential information secure in light of revelations of unprecedented US government surveillance of electronic communications and transactions.

"The work of journalists and lawyers is central to our democracy. When their work suffers, so do we," said author of the report, Alex Sinha, Aryeh Neier Fellow at Human Rights Watch and ACLU. According to the report, surveillance has magnified existing concerns among journalists and their sources over the administration's crackdown on leaks.

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Source: PTI