Monday 23 January 2017

Newspapers welcome review

Published 22/01/2016 | 02:30

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

NewsBrands Ireland, the representative organisation for 16 national newspapers, has welcomed the decision by Justice Minister Frances Fitzgerald to establish a review of laws under which journalists' phone records have been accessed by authorities.

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The organisation said it looked forward to providing its views to Mr Justice John Murray, who has been appointed to carry out the review.

It said its clear position was that the current legislative framework breaches the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights because it does not adequately protect the sources and privacy of journalists.

"It is a disturbing feature of the legislation that journalists do not know if their private information has been sought and accessed," NewsBrands Ireland said in a statement.

NewsBrands Ireland also called on Ms Fitzgerald, An Garda Siochana, the Garda Siochana Ombudsman Commission (GSOC) and the other bodies involved to clarify how many access requests have been made and granted, who the journalists involved are, and why this was felt to be necessary and appropriate.

Meanwhile the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) met with GSOC commissioners yesterday to discuss its concerns.

In a statement, the NUJ said it remained of the view that access to the telephone records and other data of citizens by statutory agencies should be on foot of an application made before a High Court judge and that such applications should be justified on the basis of a public interest test.

Irish Independent

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