Two reporters at the Berlingske Tidene could face jail time for publishing classified intelligence reports about Iraq’s weapons program. Michael Bjerre and Jesper Larsen were recently charged with publishing confidential government documents, which in Denmark is punishable by fines or up to two years in prison.
The articles, printed in February and March of 2004, were based on leaked reports from the Danish Defense Intelligence Service. The reports said there was no evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction during Saddam Hussein’s rule.
"Jesper Larsen and Michael Bjerre have carried out a precious piece of work," Berlingske Tidende editor-in-cief Niels Lunde said in a statement.
Last year the intelligence officer Frank Grevil, who leaked the documents to the reporters, was sentenced to four months in prison.
In October 2002, Denmark’s Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told the Parliament that, along with the US, they were convinced that Saddam possessed weapons of mass destruction.
These actions are similar to Republican calls in the US for the punishment of journalists who exposed government wire tapping and secret prisons. Where will the line be drawn when governments can or cannot punish journalists for releasing information that benefit the public?
Source : Mainichi Daily News