“damages the ability of the press to hold people in positions of power to account”

As the Belfast Telegraph reports, there’s an Early Day Motion tabled in the name of John McDonnell, secretary of the National Union of Journalists’ parliamentary group, on the topic of “Protection of Journalists’ Sources”. That would be in response to that recent court ruling. Full text of the Early Day Motion

That this House regrets that many police forces fail to recognise the importance of a journalist’s right to protect his or her sources; believes that the protection of confidential sources is internationally recognised as one of the basic principles of press freedom and attempts to force journalists to disclose information to the security services undermine the confidence and candour with which sources will talk to journalists and damages the ability of the press to hold people in positions of power to account; and therefore calls on the Government to issue guidance to police forces across the UK to remind them of the need to respect press freedom.

15 MPs have signed it so far. No Northern Ireland MPs yet, but it hasn’t been up long. Of course, here, the Northern Ireland First and deputy First Ministers don’t seem to have even acknowledged the ruling. Not even an anonymous spokesman. It’s almost as if, idle politics aside, they don’t recognise the basic principles of press freedom.. Including the freedom to dissent, to be “lazy”, adopt the “tactics of Satan”, or just to ask “stupid” questions. Adds 20 signatures now, including the SDLP’s Mark Durkan.


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