NMA: IP Bill Contains Insufficient Safeguards for Journalists

The draft investigatory powers legislation contains insufficient safeguards for journalists and freedom of expression and must be reconsidered without delay, the News Media Association has said today.

The NMA called on the Government to change the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill and provide comprehensive statutory protection for journalistic material and sources.   

The protection should be “fully addressed” and “on the face of the Bill” and “at least equivalent to the protection presently applicable under PACE and the Terrorism Act 2000” and this was backed by the cross party Joint Committee on the Draft Investigatory Powers Bill.

Introduced into Parliament this week, the Investigatory Powers Bill does not contain any measures which would adequately protect journalists and their sources. The NMA is extremely concerned by the current Bill and warns that it could seriously undermine investigative journalism. 

Clauses introducing the PACE type press freedom protections and procedures necessary in relation to all applications and use of powers under the RIPA and IP legislation must be added to the legislation, the NMA said.

NMA legal, policy and regulatory affairs advisor Kerry Nicholson said: “In its current form, this legislation poses a serious threat to the agenda setting investigatory journalism which news media  publishers invest in.

“The Home Office must rethink the implications of this legislation and introduce proper safeguards for journalism without delay, otherwise the effect on journalism and freedom of expression could be profoundly chilling.”

The second reading of the Bill will take place on 15 March.