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January 26, 2014

DA-Notice Committee which advises editors on national security risks could be scrapped in wake of Edward Snowden, report

By Dominic Ponsford

The MoD is reviewing the DA-Notice Committee system and the Sunday Times reports that it could be scrapped altogether.

The DA-Notice Committee is a voluntary arrangement whereby editors are advised about matters which could compromise national security.

The Sunday Times reports that the Edward Snowden surveillance revelations have called into question the century-old system.

A source told the paper: "“In the current media landscape the committee does not seem to be very relevant when our secret stuff can be posted on the internet anywhere in the world."

It suggests that it could be brought in-house to the MoD press office.

But committee vice-chair, Simon Bucks from Sky News, told the paper: “Any suggestion that the current system be abolished would potentially be a precursor of a coercive system which I believe the entire British media would oppose.”

The DA-Notice Committee secretary claims to offer independent advice to editors on a voluntary and non-binding basis to allow them to make informed decisions about publishing stories which could harm national security.

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Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger told MPs last year that he had consulted the DA-Notice Committee on all but one of his paper's Edward Snowden-based stories.

As first revealed by Press Gazette, The Guardian did not seek the DA-Notice secretary's advice before publishing revelations about UK spying at a 2009 G20 conference.


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