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Support investigative journalists under threat: sign the petition

4 September 2018

The National Union of Journalists has called on all union members and supporters to sign a petition in protest at the recent arrest of journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey in Northern Ireland.

They were arrested on Friday 31 August by detectives from Durham Constabulary, supported by officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and the actions of the authorities represents an attack on investigative journalism.

Séamus Dooley, NUJ assistant general secretary, said the petition is an opportunity to express solidarity with the journalists and makers of the documentary No Stone Unturned, an examination of the six unsolved murders in an attack at Loughinisland, County Down, Northern Ireland in 1994. The documentary raises serious questions about the police investigation into the attack by a Loyalist paramilitary gang. He said:

"These arrests have caused grave concern. The manner of the arrests and the priority given to investigating leaks rather than the fundamental issues raised by the documentary has outraged not just media workers but many people in the UK, Ireland and across the world. We welcome the High Court challenge to the arrests and the petition is one way we can express our solidarity with those associated with the documentary, an outstanding example of public service journalism."

Be the arrow not the target – Raymond Williams

Sign the NUJ petition:

investigative journalism
The film investigates six unsolved murders

The arrest of journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey on Friday 31 August by detectives from Durham Constabulary, supported by officers from the Police Service of Northern Ireland represents an attack on investigative journalism.

The documentary, No Stone Unturned, sheds light on the six unsolved murders in a violent attack on civilians in Loughinisland, County Down, Northern Ireland in 1994.

The film is an outstanding example of public interest journalism. The documentary raises serious questions about the police investigation into the attack.

We condemn the targeting of those who seek the truth and the attempt to criminalise media workers.

The foundation on which all confidential information is exchanged between a journalist and a source is mutual trust. The ability of journalists to act in the public interest is contingent on their ability to honour commitments made in good faith to a source of confidential information. This principle is enshrined in the NUJ’s ethical code of conduct.

The highest level of protection, under international law, must be afforded to journalists in respect of privacy in their communications and in respect to the right to protect confidential sources of information received and published in the public interest.

The NUJ has strongly condemned the arrest of Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, in violation of their rights under the European Convention of Human Rights and was gravely concerned by the manner of their detention and the implication for investigative journalism in Northern Ireland.

We the undersigned demand the immediate lifting of the threat of legal action against Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey.

We further demand that the police authorities and prosecutors give due recognition to the right of journalists to protect confidential sources of information, with particular reference to Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

We support the campaign by the NUJ in defence of Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey, to whom we extend our support and solidarity.

Signed:

If you want to add your name to this public statement and petition of support, then please sign the statement and return by email: endthreat@nuj.ie 

Alternatively you can sign the petition by post, send your name to NUJ, Spencer House, Spencer Row, Dublin 1, DO1 R9T8

Tags: , northern ireland, no stone unturned, Durham Constabulary, Police Service of Northern Ireland, Loughinisland, investigative journalism, protection of sources, journalists arrested, code of conduct, ethics, public interest