Statement: Access to Phone Records – Review of Legislation

NewsBrands Ireland, the representative organisation for sixteen national news brands, welcomes the decision of the Minister for Justice to establish a review of the legislative system whereby journalists’ phone records have been accessed by the Gardai, GSOC and possibly other statutory bodies.

NewsBrands Ireland look forward to providing its views to Judge Murray, who has been appointed to carry out this review.

However, our clear position is that the current legislative framework breaches the right to freedom of expression guaranteed by the European Convention on Human Rights because it does not adequately protect the sources and privacy of journalists.

It is a disturbing feature of the legislation that journalists do not know if their private information has been sought and accessed.  Consequently NewsBrands Ireland is calling on the Minister for Justice, Gardai, GSOC and the other bodies involved to clarify the following:

  • How many access requests have been made and granted?
  • Who the journalists involved are?
  • Why this was felt to be necessary and appropriate?

That information will then form an integral part of NewsBrands Ireland’s submission to the review.