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Snowden leaks journalist Glenn Greenwald warns against 'unprecedented attacks on press freedoms' in Guardian leaving blog

By Angela Haggerty, Reporter

October 31, 2013 | 4 min read

Guardian writer Glenn Greenwald, who broke several stories about spying and surveillance after being leaked information from Edward Snowden, has urged the public to stand against a “sustained and unprecedented attack on press freedoms” in his leaving column for the Guardian.

Warnings: Greenwald made the comments in his leaving blog

Greenwald announced earlier this month that he was leaving the title to pursue a “once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity” which will focus on investigative journalism.

In his Guardian column discussing his decision to go, Greenwald fired a warning shot about threats faced by the press.

“As I leave, I really urge everyone to take note of, and stand against, what I and others have written about for years, but which is becoming increasingly more threatening: namely, a sustained and unprecedented attack on press freedoms and the news gathering process in the US,” Greenwald wrote.

"That same menacing climate is now manifest in the UK as well, as evidenced by the truly stunning warning issued this week by British Prime Minister David Cameron. There are extremist though influential factions in both countries which want to criminalise not only whistleblowing but that act of journalism itself."

He added: “I’m not leaving because of those threats – if anything, they make me want to stay and continue to publish here – but I do believe it’s urgent that everyone who believes in basic press freedoms unite against this.”

Following his work on the Snowden story, which revealed allegations and evidence of mass surveillance by the NSA, Greenwald’s partner, David Miranda, was detained for nine hours at Heathrow airport under the Terrorism Act after a trip to exchange documents with film maker Laura Poitras, who worked with Greenwald on the leaks.

The new venture Greenwald is involved in is backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and involves Poitras and The Nation’s Jeremy Scahill.

Former Washington bureau chief for The Huffington Post, Dan Froomkin, was recently announced as an addition to the team, alongside former editor at The Nation Magazine Liliana Segura.

Greenwald said that the venture – temporarily named ‘NewCo News’ – does not yet have a launch date but insisted it would be “reasonably soon”.

On his time at the Guardian, he said he was proud of what they’ve achieved together, adding: “Reporting the NSA story has never been easy, but it’s always been invigorating and fulfilling.

“It’s exactly why one goes into journalism and, in my view, is what journalism at its crux is about. That doesn’t mean that the journalists and editors who have worked on this story have instantly agreed on every last choice we faced, but it does mean that, on the whole, I leave with high regard for the courage and integrity of the people with whom I’ve worked and pride in the way we’ve reported this story.”

Greenwald said his Guardian blog will stay live and he will post periodically, and he plans to continue working with foreign media outlets on the NSA revelations.

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