Secret courts to seize reporters' notebooks?

Just in case you missed it over the weekend, the UK Government are considering making it possible to seize reporters' notebooks and hard-drives, after secret hearingsā€¦

The Deregulation Bill is coming before the UK House of Commons on Monday, and among its many "red-tape-cutting" provisions is one that would allow the courts to grant the police secret hearings in which they could secure orders to seize reporters' notebooks, hard-drives and other confidential material. No one representing the reporters would be allowed to see the evidence in these "closed material procedures."

This is a profoundly worrying attack on journalists' ability to protect their sources - and the fact that secret hearings are involved is even more troubling. This will have a major impact on the ability of investigative journalists to do their work - and on the willingness of whistle-blowers to come forwards.