February 3, 2014
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 hearings…
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.
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