Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Asahi Shimbun interview on threats to civil liberties post-9/11

In the run-up to the recent 9/11 anniversary, i was invited to the Holborn offices of Asahi Shimbun, Japan's biggest newspaper, to be interviewed by Sawamura-san, the London bureau chief. It turns out they had me down as an expert on "threats to civil liberties" and wanted to interview me - for over an hour - on threats to civil liberties in the wake of 9/11 in the UK, or whether other factors played a more important role. This was for a planned series of 9/11 anniversary pieces from Asahi Shimbun's various correspondents round the world.

It was a very in-depth interview of the sort they don't do anymore in the UK press, during which it emerged that Japan had had a very nasty post-9/11 civil liberties crackdown all of its own. And they'd already talked to the I'm a Photographer Not a Terrorist people about Section 44 Terrorism Act.

Unfortunately, the Paris and New York bureaus of the paper had "got their features in" ahead of London, so my interview wasn't used - as they'd warned me might be the case. There's a vague chance the interview might live to fight another day as a short section of some future Japanese language-only Asahi feature.

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