Data Protection Bill

Written evidence submitted by WAN-IFRA, News Media Europe, and CPU Media Trust (DPB12)

World’s Press Condemns Use of Data Protection Bill

as Weapon Against the Media

1. As international organisations dedicated to the promotion of freedom of expression, we are deeply alarmed by the anti-media changes to the UK’s Data Protection Bill. No other EU member state is implementing data protection legislation as a weapon against the press.

2. The Bill sets a dangerous precedent to governments everywhere, ripe for adaptation, just as European states legislate on their own new data protection regimes. Clauses added in the House of Lords would fatally undercut the protections for freedom of expression and freedom of information mandated by the GDPR itself and the European Charter for Human Rights. Their damaging impact on press freedom would extend far beyond UK magazines and newspapers.

3. Merely for lawfully choosing not to join a UK state approved regulator, the Bill would require any title to fund those who wrongfully sue it. It means that a court that has just upheld the newspaper’s right to publish, is then required to order that title to pay all the legal costs of the action, including those of its wrongful accuser. This would apply to any news publisher, newspaper, magazine or online, international or UK, that could be sued before the courts of England and Wales.

4. Robust independent journalism, scrutinising and holding power to account, would be put at severe financial risk. The Bill would chill investigation and publication, irrespective of the public interest and the public right to know. The UK’s ranking dropped to 40 out of 180 countries in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index and these clauses would tarnish its reputation yet further.

5. We trust that the profound importance of press freedom will be recognised and that the Bill now before the House of Commons will be amended to excise these repressive clauses.  

Michael Golden



Wout van Wijk
Executive Director

News Media Europe

Ian Beales

Founder Trustee

CPU Media Trust

The World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) is the global organisation of the world’s press. It derives its authority from its global network of 3,000 news publishing companies and technology entrepreneurs, and its legitimacy from its 80-member publisher associations representing 18,000 publications in 120 countries.

The CPU Media Trust defends the freedom of the Commonwealth Media. The Trust is committed to a professional, ethical and effective media across the Commonwealth. Its primary concerns are supporting media freedom and media rights, the training of journalists in the skills necessary for them to enable their work and a thorough understanding of media law and the establishment and support of self-regulatory bodies throughout the Commonwealth.

News Media Europe (NME) represents the progressive news media industry in Europe –  over 2200 European titles of newspapers, radio, tv and internet. NME is committed to maintaining and promoting the freedom of the press, to upholding and enhancing the freedom to publish, and to championing the news brands which are one of the most vital parts of Europe’s creative industries

March 2018


Prepared 12th March 2018