posted at 20:50
Author Name: James Pheby
British press fights Big Brother after sources outed
Detectives used a law usually reserved for terror suspects to find out the sources for scoops in The Sun and the Mail on Sunday that led to the downfall of two senior officials. A legal challenge has now been launched in the European Court of Human Rights on behalf of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, which claims that the law is being used in a way that contravenes the right to free speech. "There has been a huge amount of case law at the European Court to say that as part of that right to freedom of expression, the confidentiality of journalist sources has the highest possible protection in law," Ponsford said. Journalists appear to have the backing of Home Secretary Theresa May, the interior minister, who is pushing a law restricting its use to cases of serious crime, and Paul Kennedy, the government's interception of communications commissioner, who has launched a review of the law. Metropolitan Police assistant commissioner Mark Rowley insisted the force would continue to use the law. "Nobody should be above the law, whether it's a member of the public, whether it's a police officer, whether it's a journalist. We should be able to investigate and pursue any one of those," he told the BBC. - 'Asymmetric battle' -. As the law stands, a senior police officer can sign off a request to access someone's phone records, although not the actual content of the call or message. In a message delivered to the London conference, Snowden said the answer lay not in the law but in more stringent technological safeguards.

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