WAN-IFRA press freedom mission to UK: What no mention of the 61 UK journalists arrested since 2011?

The World Association of Newspapers' first press freedom mission to the UK is in the midst of a round of top-level meetings today to discuss the Royal Charter on press regulation and the Government's annoyance at Guardian revelations about state surveillance.

But so far there has been no mention from WAN-IFRA in its press statements about the little matter of the 61 UK journalists arrested over the last two years – in many cases dragged from their beds in front of weeping familes and questioned for many hours without charge etc. etc.

Now Axegrinder understands that the esteeemed international editors can't say much about ongoing proceedings at the Old Bailey. 

But what about the 11 journalists who have been arrested, banged up, kept on bail for an extended period only to be cleared of all wrongdoing.

People like former News of the World journalist Bethany Usher, arrested because a source forgot they had given her entirely legitimate access to a voicemail message.

Sun journalist Rhodri Phillips was dragged out of his bed at 6.30am by a phalanx of officers and spent 13 months on police bail on suspicion of handling a missing mobile phone belonging to an MP which officers would have very quickly realised he had neither seen or touched.

Another Sun journalist, Chris Pollard, got the same treatment on suspicion of handling stolen goods because he wrote a memo based on information which had been passed to him from a missing mobile phone. The phone had been found by a member of the public and contained messages from a married high-profile celebrity including explicity images sent to his mistress. No story ever appeared and to publish one may well have constituted an unacceptable breach of privacy under civil law. But again, did the police really think Pollard was intending to sell the phone at Camden Market?

At some point this year or next, the UK could oust China as the third most prolific country in the world when it comes to jailing journalists (behind Turkey and Iran).

As one redtop source told Axegrinder: "There is much hilarity about this doubtless well intended mercy mission to the UK to save the press had not a single mention of the fact that 20-odd journalists from The Sun were dragged from their beds in dawn raids and left dangling on bail for best part of two years and have still not gone on trial for reporting the truth."

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