Britain threatens media on al-Jazeera memo

Nov. 23, 2005 at 12:51 PM
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LONDON, Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Britain has threatened journalists with legal action if they publish details of a confidential memo that said President Bush wanted to bomb al-Jazeera television.

A day after the Daily Mirror tabloid published details of a memo outlining the accusations, which Britain and the United States have both denied, U.K. Attorney General Lord Goldsmith warned that publication of more details would be a breach under section five of the Official Secrets Act.

The Daily Mirror said it will comply with the warning.

The country's National Union of Journalists accused the government Wednesday of curbing press freedom.

"This is a heavy-handed attempt to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted. It is a double attack on the freedom of the press and freedom of information," said NUJ Secretary Jeremy Dear.

On Tuesday, the Daily Mirror ran a front-page story under the headline "Bush plot to bomb his ally." The report said the Bush administration had planned to bomb the Qatar-based satellite network, which Washington and London have accused of running inflammatory reporting of the war on terror and in Iraq.

Al-Jazeera called the report "shocking."

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