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Northern Irish police seize journalist's mobile phone

19 August 2010

The Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) has seized a mobile phone belonging to a Derry-based freelance journalist. Eamonn MacDermott's phone was seized by the PSNI today on foot of a warrant.

The National Union of Journalists has expressed alarm at the PSNI's actions. Séamus Dooley, NUJ Irish Secretary, said that the decision to confiscate the phone represents a threat to the confidentialty of journalistic sources and was viewed with concern by journalists throughout Ireland and the UK.

Jeremy Dear, NUJ General Secretary, condemned the PSNI's actions. In a statement, he said:

"Eamonn MacDermott is an established freelance journalist working in Northern Ireland, covering sensitive stories and with a wide range of contacts. The seizure of his phone and the accessing of his phone records by the police is another attack on the right of journalist to operate in Northern Ireland.
"The right to protect confidential sources of information is compromised when police act in this way and we take this action very seriously. Just as we supported the right of Suzanne Breen to protect her sources we protect the right of Eamonn MacDermott."

Tags: , northern ireland, police, eamonn macdermott, phone records, psni, protection of sources, suzanne breen, confidentiality