The membership body, which fights for press freedom, said any reforms which weakened the protections a journalist had against police accessing information from sources would be “extremely worrying”.
Ian Murray, executive director of the Society of Editors, said that it was an established custom of PACE legislation that special protection was afforded to journalistic material, and that an exemption for confidential journalistic material remained essential to protect the public’s right to know.
He said: “The Law Commission’s recommendation that the Government should review access to journalistic material under PACE is extremely worrying if it leads to weakened protections for journalistic material and sources.
“Under current legislation, PACE affords special protection to journalistic material and it is essential that, going forward, an exemption is similarly included in any draft legislation.
“The laws around police seizure of journalistic material require urgent need of strengthening – not watering down.
“Journalists must have confidence that their material remains protected if they are to guarantee source protection and ultimately fulfil their important public interest roles.”
Picture: Reuters/Neil Hall