(RT.COM) – On Wednesday an international conference on press freedom was launched in London. Ironically on the same day Her Majesty’s government was defending its mass surveillance on communications, including those of journalists.

The Global Conference for Media Freedom, co-organized by the governments of the UK and Canada, was launched with much fanfare in the British capital, with some 1,000 representatives from around the world present. Some media professionals were barred from the grand event (namely this media, RT and another Russian outlet Sputnik to be precise), but of course it didn’t stop hosts from declaring appreciation of the role that a free press plays in a free society.

Halfway across Europe in Strasbourg on the same day lawyers representing the British government were defending its right to spy on electronic communication of people before the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR).

The case was brought before the court by 16 organizations and individuals defending civil and journalistic liberties, including the Bureau of Investigative Journalism. They argued that mass snooping, first revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, violated the right to privacy and the right to freedom of expression – the latter being fundamental for journalistic work.

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