'Police are trying to criminalise public interest whistleblowers' - 600 reasons why the state must stop spying on journalists - Press Gazette

'Police are trying to criminalise public interest whistleblowers' - 600 reasons why the state must stop spying on journalists

Editors, reporters, media lawyers and press freedom campaigners are among nearly 600 people who have signed up to Pess Gazette's Save Our Sources campaign.

Set up a week ago, the Change.org petition, which can be found here, calls on the Interception of Communications Commissionerto 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 – a signatory of the petition – 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.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger, Sun editor David Dinsmore (below), Spectator editor Fraser Nelson and Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear are among those who have so far supported the petition.

Freedom of press means freedom to protect sources.

Fraser Nelson

In addition to these editors, investigative reporters and editors such as Nick Davies of The Guardian, Stephen Wright of the Daily Mail, Tom Harper of The Independent, Paul Lewis of The Guardian, hacking trial blogger Peter Jukes and Brian Flynn of The Sun, have put their names to the petition.

We do not want to live in a police state.

Brian Flynn

Journalists should be able to protect sources and information from police intrusion.

Nick Davies

I'm signing because the Metropolitan Police have cynically twisted the phone-hacking scandal that engulfed the Yard into an opportunity to clamp down on whistleblowers, including from the police, speaking to the media. This is a genuinely worrying development that is, in my experience, unquestionably counter to the public interest. I am aware of specific examples where the Met is attempting to criminalise public interest whistleblowers to protect its own reputation and the abuse of RIPA offers them even more opportunities to do so. This is not self-interest, this is real and affects the ability of the media to act as an effective check and balance on the State. Please sign this petition.

Tom Harper

National Union of Journalists general secretary Michelle Stanistreet (below), her predecessor Jeremy Dear, Society of Editors executive director Bob Satchwell, NCTJ chief executive Joanne Butcher and Dominic Cooper and Paul Francis, of the Chartered Institute of Journalists, have also shown their support.

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.

Dominic Cooper

Stanistreet today announced plans for the NUJ to join “forces with Press Gazette and other allies to campaign against the targeting of journalists and the criminalisation of our sources”.

Protecting our sources is a fundamental duty of all journalists and the cornerstone of the NUJ's code of conduct. That responsibility is under threat as never before,

It is an outrage that journalists are being spied on, that their phone records have been secretly pored over, their communications seized – all in order to target, identify and out sources who have turned to reporters in order to bring vital information to the public's attention. The Met's misuse of RIPA legislation, by-passing assurances and processes set out under PACE, to obtain information covertly without judicial process or oversight, is a disgrace that must be urgently addressed.

The campaign has also received the support of former Daily Mirror editor Roy Greenslade, who is now a media columnist, former BBC presenter Robin Lustig, former head of BBC global news Richard Sambrook and former Times managing editor, turned head of journalism at City University, 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.

George Brock

Other signatories include former News of the World deputy editor Neil Wallis (pictured, Reuters), current Sun managing editor Stig Abell, Oxford Mail and Oxford Times editor Simon O’Neill, Trinity Mirror editorial director Neil Benson, former Sun deputy editor Fergus Shanahan and Mail on Sunday deputy news editor David Rose.

As a journalist I am concerned about creeping secrecy and media suppression by state organisations.

Simon O'Neill

Media law experts David Allen Green (legal columnist for the Financial Times), Mark Hanna (joint author McNae's) and Caroline Kean (partner at law firm Wiggin) have also signed.

It should be obvious: protections in law for free speech should not be so easily avoided by using an act that was never originally designed for that purpose.

Caroline Kean

I am co-author of McNae's Essential Law for Journalists. I fear that such unaccountable use of RIPA powers threatens journalists' ability to investigate powerful, state agencies.

Mark Hanna

Local newspaper reporter Sally Murrer, who herself was arrested and put on trial in 2008 for simply having off the record conversations with a police contact, said: 

After being a journalist victim of police using RIPA and other underhand means to obtain my sources and other confidential information, I support this petition with all my heart. I really hoped my case would stop police using such bully-boy tactics against journalists. Sadly it seems to have made the situation worse.

Here is a full list of signatories so far:

Dominic Ponsford

Dan Palmer

William Turvill

Eliot Hastie

Morette Thompson

Ellie Brown

Simon O'Neill

Tom Worden

fidelma cook

Neil Syson

Gail Milne

Henry Vaughan

Samir Jeraj

lewis panther

Gaz Corfield

Andrew Gardner

Stuart Smith

Concepta Cassar

Tom Savage

Jane Price

Kevin Price

Nigel Pauley

Jen Pharo

Jo Taylor

Spy Blog

Michelle Smart

martin stenning

Sarah Griffiths

Jon Slattery

Ric Sumner

Jules Mattsson

Pete Maclaine

Jeremy Dear

Tom Newton Dunn

Stephen Bush

Jonathan Calder

Duncan Geddes

Greg Swift

James Cunliffe

Jeff Gazzard

Paul Hurved

Robin Rea

Riitta Ollila

Jon Mills

john jewell

Daryl Stafford

Lara O'Reilly

Tim Palmer

Will Jordan

Lizzie Palmer

Enid Shelmerdine

Shane Croucher

Patrick O'Brien

Jordan Bintcliffe

megan french

Rachel Broady

Gareth Davies

John Keenan

Fraser Nelson

Tina Robins

Mary Mehaffy

liz gerard

Sam Harrington-Lowe

Alex Olliver

James Doleman

William Humphries

Stanley Moorcroft

Bryan Glick

Rudolf Abraham

Simon Russell

Patrick Walter

Anthony Hatter

Kevin Ward

Sam Marsden

Chris Johnston

Joan Willows

Robert Collins

Maria Williams

Darren Ingram

George Brock

Tom Witherow

Oliver Jones

V Witty

Craig Lewis

Mike Jempson

Nick Davies

Jane Rossiter-Smith

Steve Rose

Bill Campbell

Richard Andrew

Meg Howarth

Denise Danks

Tim Crook

Dominic Cooper CIoJ

Sean Gallagher

Matt Hill

Michael Fisher

Nigel Jarrett

David Wignall

Tony Bianchi

Anthony Warlow

Oliver Pugh

Paul Weatherilt

Denis O'Regan

Lucy Fisher

Mark Johnson

William Goodwin

Janet Jones

Ben Turner

Madeleine Trimmer

Pete Green

D Lee

Tom Bristow

Laura Oakley

Roger Perkins

Thomas Barfield

Nick Wallis

Graham Alexander-Harper

Geoffrey Brewis

Paul Lashmar

Richard Gould

Jill Rosenlund

robert hooper

Hilary Muray

Anthony McIntyre

B Bridges

Carrie Twomey

Kathryn Johnston

Paul Francis Leighton FCIJ

Neil Wallis

caraline brown

Jamie Turner

David Dinsmore

Alexander Robson

Cassandra Allwood

Ben Parsons

David Thomas

Thomas Walshe

Alison Webster

Peter Walker

Tony Whitfield

Michelle Stanistreet

Robin Wilson

Harry Kemble

William Lodge

Joe Shute

Mikey Smith

Harry Kemble

Philip Fielding

Jason Beattie

Mike Lowe

Daniel Bentley

Grant Rollings

V Weston

James Brownsell

Phil Sutcliffe

Paul Lewis

Rob Reeves

Doug Seeburg

ciaran mc clean

William Horsley

Anthony France

Michael Hortin

Maggie Curtis

David Smith

Sarah Kavanagh

Jacky Porter

Ashley Kirk

Margot Huysman

mike forster

David Lindsell

David White

Helen Reynolds

Dick Bain

Brian Flynn

sharon hanna

Andrew O'Hagan

stefan slater

Philip Hunt

David Comeau

Louise Bolotin

Neil Wilson

Geoff Webster

Roger Ryan

Emily Brown

Francesca Di Renzo

richard meredith

Roy Mincoff

rob evans

Deborah King

Andrew Pugh

David Rose

Graham Nugent

Matthew Lloyd

Paul Robinson

Claire Pugh

Matt Silver

gordon porritt

Mia Kozlow

Lynda Totton

David CC Ewen

sarrah Blyth

Lucia Poliovkova

Steve Hoselitz

Linda Fenn

Bernie Shaw

Rob Draper

Tresor Ekwok

H Smith

Fiona Scott

annette mcparland

Kelly Bedson

Andrew Stephenson

Lynsey cleaver

Cheryl Jarman

Jan Patterson

alice johnston

Vanessa Langford

Maureen Loo on

Louise Smillie

Rick Byrne

Kelly Ablethorpe

barbara hall

Tim McConville

Jessica Daniels

Natalie Brewer

Michelle Hodges

Natasha Carthew

Eddy Murphy

Rwanda Soole

Kelly Gilders

Nora Kurdy

Rob Tooze

Krisztina okunbor

Patrice Johnson

Amirali Ravji

Emma Raine

Jane Glenton

Zoe Spears

Elizabeth Fleming

Jay Vincent

Darren Jardine

A Rathbone

dawn beech

Don Harrison

Alice Smith-Hogan

Sheila Ryan

Steven Cassidy

kathryn terry

Karim Kraku

Lorilee Mensah

David Lawson

dave Ballantyne

Helen O'Neill

joy meah

Jack Grady

Ewa Kopacki

Laura Onita

Leda Schoen

carol brewster

Tom Sneddon

lynn ghenimi

Thomas Clinch

Andy Smith

Tory Blair

Jean Morgan

Owen Duffy

Robert McLaughlin

Janine Gibson

Sheron Boyle

Richard Fidler

jim mcquade

David Allen Green

Inga Boegershausen

Eric Matthies

Jill Foster

Thais Portilho

Lynn Morris

Robert Goldspink

David Shariatmadari

Pat Gow

Dominic Heale

Peter Burrows

richard goss

Jeremy Ball

Pam Cowburn

Chris Doidge

Nikki Osborne

Julia Day

sue morey

Tina Quinn

ben black

Amanda Brodie

Carmel Harrison

Roisin Hannon

Stephen Wright

Ian Gallagher

Loraine McGrady

Miranda Grell

Kris Jones

Mei Wan Chang

Joseph Cox

Adriana Eysler

geoff cooper

Andrew Mourant

Oliver Money-Kyrle

Sally Chesworth

Stig Abell

Lorna Carmichael

Alex Mizzi

Trevor Lansdown

Peter Robins

Ian Weinfass

David Dennis

Richard Sambrook

Will Metcalfe

Mike Unger

Jack Hanning

Lyra McKee

Clive Maclennan

Steve Robson

Alastair Morgan

john walls

Matt Merritt

Max Cisotti

Barry Keevins

Ben Hibbert

Brian Deer

Lizzy Justice

Robin Callender Smith

oisn meehan

Geoff Marshall

Roswalien Burnham

Lynne Anderson

gary kirkup

Tom Taylor

Terry Duhig

Vivienne DuBourdieu

Shiv Satchit

Chris Jefferies

Norman Bartlett

Campbell Thomas

Gabriella Swerling

Colin McIntyre

Michael Calderbank

Campbell Douglas

Michael Moriarty, FCIJ

Norman Brand

Peter Macdonald

Rick Thompson

Mick Holder

Helen Dagley

Greg Blatchford

James Fitzmaurice

Fiona Swarbrick

Stewart Nicol

Ben Endley

Horace Bernard-Smith

Bolawa Gbolahan

Lucio Menin

David Banks

Andrea Busfield

Nick Wilson

Aidan White

Janice Shillum

Wendy Rix

Cleland Thom

Shaun Lintern

Ken Hurst

Marshall Stewart

Gordon Burns

Peter Brown

Stuart Littleford

dave revelle

Marc Hanning

Jane Sherwood

Declan O'Driscoll

Maurice Platt

Kerry Peebles

Kenneth Rasmusson

Mathieu Kroon Gutiérrez

Joanne Butcher

Alison Thomson

Roger Broad

Ian Campbell

Jenny Shepherd

Jason Kirkpatrick

Sally Murrer


Bill Bowder

Martin McNamara

David Godsall

Leigh Lowe

Alex Clelland

Robin Lustig

Lucy Thomas

Richard Mason

Tim Wyatt

Ryan Kisiel

Liam Barnes

Mark Hanna

Chris Church

Stewart Roberts

Victoria Civil

John Shone

Patrick Lee

Matt Cornish

Tom Matthews

Dan Bloom

Jacob Cotterill

Freddie Whittaker

Claire Meadows

Bob Satchwell

Peter Jukes

Kevin Hurley

Duncan Brodie

Susie Boniface

Samuel Dale

Sarah Quance

Simon Patterson

Mark Lowe

Trevor Lloyd-Jones

Matt Nixson

Derek Congdon

Luisa Mateus

Jane Grant

Michael Havis

Chris Brace

Simon Trott

Will Date

Duncan Brown

Michael Oliver

Emily Childs

Highbury JD

Brian Pillans

John Wylie

Alan Evans

Lisa Townshend

David Williams

Steve Hamlett

John Wooding

Kathy Wedge

Peter Whitfield

Georgina Stubbs

Tabarek Hufthy

Steve Turpin

philip randall

George Barbrook

Karen Wilkins

Judi Morgan

Jason Murdock

David Seaman

Geoff Dale

David Frew

Claire Foxall

agnes laurent-canet

Louise Carter

Michael Maguire

William Randle

hannah gael

Fred Pigden

Vicky Sanders

John Szemerey

Linda Stoica

jordan jenkins

Joe Dryden

Shirley Moore

Elin Hullis

Lou Cole

Margaret Swaine

Caroline Kean

Neil Withnall

Julie Jones

Janice Williams

s liddle

Julia Stadnik

Muhammad Mujtaba

Angela Derbyshire

Jane Howell

Caroline Coates

sarah zebrzuski


M. da Rui

Sean Rawley

Allison Good

firdevs robinson

Deborah Patterson


linda mc elwee

Sophie Calvert

Debbie Ransome

Grace Halford

Joshi Herrmann

Guy Adams

Ruth Maclean

Philip Derbyshire

Colleen Murrell

Chris Wheal

James Manning

Darren Boyle

Mark Daly

Sophie Macgregor

Bob Naylor

Ben De pear

Martin Cloake

Mark Langford

James Crisp

James Iles

Ryan Herman

Frank Gilfeather

Trevor Barker

Ted Pugh

Jonathan Millar

Michael Cronogue

Tom Wells

Kirsty Topping

ian lang

Matthew Brown

Lisa Pritchard

Roy Greenslade

Lesley Finlay

Einar Torbjornsen

Derek Bellis

Pat Wintle

Alex Smith

Sarah Lewis

Afonso Camões

Andrew Duncan

Stephen Moyes

Anthony Longden

Laure Fourquet

david page

Katherine Gault

Alice Ross

Anna Averkiou

Richard Wintle

Mario Ledwith

Kitty Trice

Peter Almond

Simon Bird

Sarah Proctor

Lee Price

Liz Carnell

Stace Williams

Arthur Phillipson

ed wight

Fergus Shanahan

Howard Wheatcroft

Alice Goldstraw

Craig Shaw

Tom Harper

kim ireland

Alfie Green

Helen Oliver

Guy Pelham

John Greenwood

Judith Harman

Roz McKenzie

Michael McDeermott

Ian Patel

Stevie Deane

Kate Holman

Brian Frost-Smith

Sara Lewis

Kaye McIntosh

Kaye McIntosh

Neil Benson

Paul Cahalan

Kathryn Cain

Robin Perrie

Olivia Waring

Perry Austin-Clarke

Felix Allen

Ricky Macgregor

Tom Sanderson

Gavin MacFadyen

Rhoderick Gates

Thomas Carroll

Louise Malone

Christopher Kay

James Cairns

Jamieleigh Newlands

Ryan Burns

nicole rafferty

tony mcnulty



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