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Title: Investigating the ‘empire of secrecy’ — three decades of reporting on the secret state
Authors: Lashmar, Paul
Advisors: Petley, J
Keywords: Intelligence;Media;Snowden
Issue Date: 2015
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: It has often been argued that journalism has been the most effective means of holding the intelligence services to account in western democracies. This thesis examines whether that proposition holds true in the United Kingdom and if so, whether such oversight has been consistent. Accountability by the news media is compared with the expanding range of UK official oversight mechanisms. The author utilises a body or work from over three decades of reporting on the intelligence services and further research on accountability to examine these questions. The author suggests this work is timely, given the controversy prompted by the former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden, who leaked a substantial archive of secret intelligence documents. This thesis concludes that the news media were often effective, if not consistent, in bringing intelligence to account in the second half of the 20th century. Since the start of the 21st century monitoring the secret state has become more challenging as a result of a changing economic, global and national political environment. Government legislation and technology makes it increasingly difficult for journalists to obtain confidential sources and then undertake their Fourth Estate role. Finding new methodologies is an urgent task for journalists, as history reveals that if intelligence agencies operate without scrutiny from outside government, abuses take place. Never before has government and its intelligence services had such powers and techniques of invasive mass surveillance available, and thus the potential to control the population and particularly those who dissent.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Media
Dept of Social Sciences Media and Communications Theses

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