The CIoJ has again come out to criticise the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act, following government proposals for its amendment.
[frame align=”left”] [/frame]The amendments simply do not go anywhere near far enough, said Paul Leighton. “We currently have a big debate going on about how far into someone’s privacy government agents are allowed to delve to protect the country from terrorism. But the concerns remain about the abuse of power, as has been seen with RIPA over the last few years.
“Here we have a government agency, in this regard police forces up and down the country, which has abused its power by using RIPA laws to gain access to journalistic records, which are protected by other laws. And have they used the information gained to fight serious crime and terrorism? No, so far the sum result of the use is to sack a couple of their colleagues who were at the centre of Plebgate.
The situation is, of course, made far worse by the fact that, so far, the police have refused to apologise for their actions. What hope can there be for the general public when these agencies are given even more money and power.
“There needs to be serious protections for journalists under this law, as there is under the provisions of PACE. Any request to access journalistic material should have to go before the courts where the journalist will have a right to fight the application,” Leighton added.