City Research Online

Journalistic freedom and the surveillance of journalists post-Snowden

Lashmar, P. ORCID: 0000-0001-9049-3985 (2018). Journalistic freedom and the surveillance of journalists post-Snowden. In: Eldridge, S. & Franklin, B. (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Developments in Digital Journalism Studies. (pp. 360-372). Oxford, UK: Taylor and Francis. doi: 10.4324/9781315270449


A paradigmatic shift is sometimes revealed by an unanticipated and extraordinary event, and so it was with Edward Snowden in 2013. A National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, Snowden was so appalled at the exponential expansion of covert digital surveillance that he decided it was his moral duty to inform the public, indeed the world. This he did from a hotel room in Hong Kong when he gave a small group of selected journalists access to 1.7 million classified documents taken from the NSA. These documents revealed the global snooping capabilities of the NSA and its ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence agency partners (ASIO in Australia, CSE in Canada, GCSB in New Zealand, and the GCHQ in United Kingdom). The Five Eyes can vacuum up just about all digital communications anywhere, anytime, and much else besides if they are so minded. Many who take a deep interest in signals intelligence thought these Anglo-Saxon agencies had probably increased their capabilities since 9/11, but even they were shocked when Snowden revealed the sheer scale – it far exceeded any estimate of capability.

Publication Type: Book Section
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of a book chapter published by Routledge in The Routledge Handbook of Developments in Digital Journalism Studies on 5 Sept 2018, available online:
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
[thumbnail of Snowden draft chapter May 2017.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
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