Danish paper to defy court ban and publish book on ex-spy chief

Source:AFP Published: 2016/10/10 20:13:39

A Danish newspaper said Sunday it will defy a court ban and publish excerpts from a book about the country's former intelligence chief to protest censorship.

"This ban directly attacks the fundamental liberties on which our open society and free press depends," said Christian Jensen, editor-in-chief of Politiken, the country's paper of record.

The Danish Security and Intelligence Service (PET) had obtained a provisional injunction Friday against the publication of the book, fearing it could contain secrets.

The book, called Seven Years for PET - Jakob Scharf's Time is based partly on interviews with the former spy chief and was due to go on sale on October 17 and be serialized in Politiken on Monday. 

"The summary of the book on the site of (publisher) People's Press gives the impression that the book might contain confidential information, the disclosure of which might endanger lives or hamper the PET's capacity to prevent crimes... like terrorism," said the agency.

Jensen said that "if the PET, without concrete evidence, can exert control on books, or media articles, then this suggests we have effectively accepted an intelligence agency as an authority on publication, which would hamper the freedom of the press. There is another word for that: censorship."

On Saturday the PET said it is now "undertaking a close reading of the book to determine if it contains information that could endanger operations or people," PET Director Finn Borch Andersen said in a statement.

Posted in: Books

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