Campaigners have expressed outrage at new proposals that could lead to journalists being jailed for up to 14 years for obtaining leaked official documents.
The major overhaul of the Official Secrets Act – to be replaced by an updated Espionage Act – would give courts the power to increase jail terms against journalists receiving official material.
The new law, should it get approval, would see documents containing “sensitive information” about the economy fall foul of national security laws for the first time.
One legal expert said the new changes would see the maximum jail sentence increase from two years to 14 years; make it an offence to “obtain or gather” rather than simply share official secrets; and to extend the scope of the law to cover information that damages “economic well-being”.
John Cooper QC, a leading criminal and human rights barrister who has served on two law commission working parties, added: “These reforms would potentially undermine some …
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