Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is concerned that a proposed law in New Zealand
will undermine the long-held right of journalists to protect the
confidentiality of sources.
If the Search and Surveillance Bill
proceeds in its present form, it will force the country’s journalists to answer
police questions or hand over documents such as media sources and notes. Those who
refuse will face penalties of up to one year in jail.
The IFJ recognises that the chairman
of the New Zealand Parliament’s Justice and Electoral Select
Committee, Chester Borrows, acknowledged concerns
about the impact of the Bill on journalists, saying it might warrant further
consideration, according to reports.'
The Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU), an
IFJ affiliate, has called for new police examination and production powers to
be withdrawn from the proposed law.
“The IFJ urges the New Zealand
Government to act on its concerns about the Search and Surveillance Bill and
make changes which protect journalists’ right to protect the confidentiality of
sources,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director
Jacqueline Park said.
“The law in its current form would seriously
erode these long-held rights, and therefore stands to erode the democratic role
of working journalists in New
At present, New Zealand’s Serious Fraud Office
can force journalists to reveal their sources, while judges can only order a
journalist to do so in restricted circumstances. The revised Bill, which was
put before New Zealand’s
Parliament on November 4, extends this power to police in cases that involve a
substantial jail sentence.
For further information contact IFJ
Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125
Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific