NUJ calls for urgent investigation of RIPA's use to spy on journalists
2 October 2014
The NUJ has condemned a further case in which police have misused the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) in order to secretly access material from journalists and their sources. The latest case involves Kent Police obtaining the phone records of Mail on Sunday news editor David Dillon and freelance journalist Andrew Alderson.
This comes in the wake of the London's Metropolitan police admitting they secretly obtained the phone records of The Sun’s political editor Tom Newton Dunn. Following on from this, industry magazine Press Gazette submitted a Freedom of Information Request that revealed that the Met does not keep records monitoring cases of RIPA being used to access journalists’ communications.
The NUJ is now calling on the Interception of Communications Commissioner to launch an urgent review of these powers and their use to access journalistic material and sources.
Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary, said:
"It is becoming clear that the misuse of RIPA to snoop on journalists is not an isolated example of bad practice in the Met. The police clearly believe they are above the law they are there to uphold.
"Their utter contempt for journalism and a free press will be a paralysing impact on whistleblowers who will think twice before ever picking up the phone to a journalist again. Information that deserves to be in the public domain won’t see the light of day. The damage to public trust in journalism is immense.
"That is why the NUJ is calling on the Interception of Communications Commissioner to conduct an urgent investigation and to review this outrageous snooping by intelligence agencies, police and other public authorities in relation to journalists' sources and material."