Friday 31 July 2009

Sources court victory for Irish Times

The NUJ today welcomed a decision by the Supreme Court in Ireland that upholds the principle of protection of journalistic sources.
The Irish Times has won an appeal against a High Court order requiring editor Geraldine Kennedy and journalist Colm Keena to answer questions that could reveal the source of a story about an official corruption inquiry.
The Mahon tribunal into alleged planning corruption wanted to question the journalists about a story published in the paper in September 2006, which revealed that the inquiry was looking into payments made to Bertie Ahern when he was finance minister.
Both refused to discuss the source of the article, and appealed the High Court order because it failed to recognise fundamental principles of press freedom.
NUJ Irish Secretary Séamus Dooley said: "This is a highly significant judgement which draws on the reasoning of the European Court in the landmark Goodwin case taken some years ago by the NUJ. The Supreme Court has stated in unambiguous terms that the High Court judgement 'had devalued the journalistic privilege so severely, the balance was not properly struck.' "
The victory for the Irish Times to protect sources follows that of Sunday Tribune journalist Suzanne Breen in Belfast who, backed by the NUJ, successfully resisted a court bid by police to force her to hand over source material linked to stories about the Real IRA.

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