Home Secretary Theresa May has admitted that sometimes police may have been "a little over zealous" in their use of spying powers to uncover confidential journalistic sources.
She was speaking last night at the Journalists' Charity's annual charity reception at the Irish Embassy.
Last year a report from the Interception of Communications Commissioner revealed that police had secretly obtained the phone records of 82 journalists in the previous three years in order to find their confidential sources.
Two pressing concerns for journalists were addressed head on by the Home Secretary, Mrs Theresa May, in a speech at the Journalists’ Charity’s annual reception at the Embassy of Ireland in London.
According to the Journalists' Charity she also accepted that it could not be right that people had been on pre-trial bail “not just for months, but sometimes years without being charged, and their life put on hold”.
Many of the 67 UK journalisted arrested and/or charged by police in the course of their work over the last four years have spent years in limbo on police bail awaiting trial.
But news organisations remain concerned because requests for journalists’ phone records would go direct to telecoms providers, in secret, with no opportunity given to news organisations to argue the case for confidentiality.