Responding to reports that two journalists have been arrested in connection with the alleged theft of a confidential report from the Police Ombudsman, which was used in a recent documentary on the Loughinisland massacre, No Stone Unturned, Brian Gormally, Director of CAJ, said:
“The arrest of journalists because of their work is always a concern, particularly when it relates to those who uncover evidence of human rights violations, who are entitled to protect their sources.
“These arrests by Durham police clearly interfere with the freedom of expression of journalists. It is now up to the police to demonstrate that this interference was reasonable, proportionate, for a legitimate aim and necessary in a democratic society. Unless they can do that, their actions amount to a violation of human rights and an assault on the freedom of the press.”
Article 10 (Freedom of Expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights protects the right of journalists to collect and use even secret information. In a recent case (1), the European Court of Human Rights said:
“The press exercises a vital role of ‘public watchdog’ in imparting information on matters of public concern… In previous cases concerning gathering and disclosure by journalists of confidential information or of information concerning national security, the Court has consistently considered that it had been confronted with an interference with the rights protected by Article 10 of the Convention.”
Please direct media enquiries to Robyn Scott, Communications & Equality Coalition Coordinator. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 028 9031 6000. CAJ Director Brian Gormally is available for interview.
(1) GÎRLEANU v. ROMANIA (Application no. 50376/09), 26 June 2018