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Wednesday 11 December 2019

NewsBrands welcomes phone snooping review - scope and justification behind GSOC access of journalists' records called for

Frances Fitzgerald
Frances Fitzgerald

NewsBrands Ireland has welcomed the decision to review the legislative system where journalists’ phone records have been accessed by the Gardai and GSOC.

The decision was announced by the Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald.

In a statement released today, NewsBrands Ireland, which is the representative organisation for 16 national news brands, said it "looks forward" to providing its views to Judge Murray, who has been appointed to carry out this review.

The statement said: "However, our clear position is 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. 

"Consequently NewsBrands Ireland is calling on the Minister for Justice, Gardai, GSOC and the other bodies involved to clarify the following:

• How many access requests have been made and granted?

• Who the journalists involved are?

• Why this was felt to be necessary and appropriate?

"That information will then form an integral part of NewsBrands Ireland’s submission to the review."

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