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September 15, 2014

Chartered Institute of Journalists backs Save Our Sources campaign and asks Met to justify secret seizure of Sun phone records

By Dominic Ponsford

The Chartered Institute of Journalists has urged the Met Police to justify its decision to obtain the phone records of The Sun and its political editor and to reveal how many other times it has used the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act to spy on journalists.

Backing Press Gazette's Save Our Sources campaign, CIoJ president Paul Leighton said: “It is vital that all journalists get behind this campaign, because the protection of sources goes right to the heart of our work.  If we cannot protect those who come forward with information we will rapidly see a decline in willing informants.

“It is shocking that police are allowed to smash the protection of journalists’ source rights in this way.  It is clearly a gaping hole in the law.  PACE regulations are the most appropriate means by which to access journalistic material, where a production order would have to go before a judge. 

“The police need to immediately justify their actions in regard to Mr Newton Dunn’s information, and then give full details of how many times they have use RIPA to circumvent the rules regarding protected journalist material.  If they can't, of won't, there is clearly something to hide.”

Press Gazette launched a petition last Thursday aimed at the Interception of Communications Commissioner.

It asks him to take action to ensure the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act is not used by public authorities to secretly obtain journalists' phone records and identify confidential sources.

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