Prime Minister David Cameron called on the British news media Monday to demonstrate "social responsibility" about printing leaked intelligence material.
In a statement to members of Parliament, Cameron said he prefers talking to the media to using legal methods, The Guardian reported. The Guardian, which has been one of the leaders in publishing stories derived from leaks by U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, described the prime minister's statement as a "veiled threat."
"The approach we have taken is to try to talk to the press and explain how damaging some of these things can be and that is why the Guardian did actually destroy some of the information and disks that they have. But they've now gone on and printed further material which is damaging," Cameron said. "I don't want to have to use injunctions or D notices or the other tougher measures. I think it's much better to appeal to newspapers' sense of social responsibility. But if they don't demonstrate some social responsibility it would be very difficult for government to stand back and not to act."
A D Notice is an official request to a newspaper not to publish material deemed harmful to national security.
Cameron's statement was in response to a question about a report in The Sun that quoted sources in British intelligence as saying that terrorist groups had "gone quiet" following Snowden's leaks, making their work more difficult.