The editors of The Sun and The Guardian and the general secretary of the National Union of Journalists are among those backing the Save Our Sources campaign to stop police secretly monitoring the phone-calls of journalists.
The Change.org petition, which can be found here, calls on the Interception of Communications Commissioner Sir Anthony May to ensure that the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act is not used by public authorities to secretly obtain journalists' phone records and identify confidential sources.
Such action is believed by many to be a breach of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights with gives the highest possible protection to journalists' sources.
Press Gazette started the campaign at the end of last week shortly after it emerged that the Met Police had used RIPA to secretly obtain the phone records of Sun political editor Tom Newton Dunn and details of calls made to The Sun newsdesk in order to find three officers accused of leaking information about the Plebgate affair. The officers were not found to have broken the law, but were sacked anyway.
Backers of the campaign so far include Sun editor David Dinsmore, Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, Spectator editor Fraser Nelson, National Union of Journalists general secretary Michelle Stanistreet and Chartered Institute of Journalists general secretary Dominic Cooper.
The petition list (below in full) also includes Guardian reporter Nick Davies, Sun investigations editor Brian Flynn, Oxford Mail and Oxford Times editor Simon O'Neill and former Times managing editor and City University head of journalism George Brock.
Here are some of their reasons for signing:
Fraser Nelson: "Freedom of press means freedom to protect sources."
George Brock: "Confidential sources are essential to the free circulation of significant information in democracies. Sources must be able to trust the promise of confidence."
Oxford Mail and Oxford Times editor Simon O'Neill: "As a journalist I am concerned about creeping secrecy and media suppression by state organisations."
Guardian reporter Nick Davies: "Journalists should be able to protect sources and information from police intrusion."
Dominic Cooper, director general of the Chartered Institute of Journalists: "It is essential that journalist’s sources are protected at all costs. Only then will those who seek to shine the light on wrong doing be able to trust in the confidentiality offered by journalists."
Sun investigations editor Brian Flynn: "We do not want to live in a police state."
Here is the current full list of 305 signatories:
Tom Newton Dunn
Dominic Cooper CIoJ
Paul Francis Leighton FCIJ
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Francesca Di Renzo
David CC Ewen
Maureen Loo on
David Allen Green
Mei Wan Chang