Save Our Sources timeline: How Press Gazette has fought to keep the grim RIPA at bay - Press Gazette

Save Our Sources timeline: How Press Gazette has fought to keep the grim RIPA at bay

The Met Police released the 51-page Operation Alice closing report to show that no stone was left unturned when it came to investigating allegations police officers conspired to bring down former Government chief whip Andrew Mitchell.

It was widely covered in the media, but only Press Gazette noticed a throw-away line on page 31 which has left the journalism industry united in outrage over a fundamental attack on our ability to protect confidential sources and whistleblowers:

 The telecommunications data in respect of Tom Newton Dunn was applied for and evidenced.
We quickly established that the Met Police had secretly viewed the mobile phone records of Sun political editor Tom Newton Dunn and the paper's newsdesk in order to find and sack three officers accused of leaking information about the Plebgate affair to the paper. The CPS found the three had no case to answer.
View the timeline below to see how Press Gazette has investigated police use of spying powers under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act against journalists.

Despite a wall of silence from the Met and other police forces we have found evidence that use of RIPA against law-abiding journalists has been widespread.
The Save Our Sources petition has been signed by more than 1,200 people – including journalists and editors across the industry and a range of civil liberties groups.
The Interception of Communications Commissioner has already announced an investigation into police surveillance of journalists in response to the Save Our Sources campaign, Home Secretary Theresa May has promised new safeguards on use of RIPA against journalists and this week Parliament debated a change in the law to make police seek the approval of a judge before they can view journalists' phone records.
The proposer of the amendment to the Serious Crime Bill, Lord Strasburger, has praised Press Gazette's "impressive campaign".



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Author: Dominic Ponsford

Dominic Ponsford is the editor of Press Gazette