Thursday, 4 June 2009

Petition for Northern Ireland journalist facing jail

Northern Ireland journalist Suzanne Breen could face imprisonment for standing up for a basic principle of journalism. The Northern Ireland editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune is facing the prospect of a court order to surrender confidential source information relating to articles about the Real IRA.

If an order is granted, she faces the prospect of six months to five years in jail. She told a recent London meeting of the National Union of Journalists (UK), she won’t reveal her sources on two grounds: “The first is selfish. My life would be in danger from the Real IRA. I would have a sledgehammer through the door. The alternative is to be hidden in a witness protection scheme. The second reason is that people who speak to journalists confidentially deserve protection. If I breach their confidence just once no one would trust me again - including the officers who talk to me on the quiet.”

Counter-terrorism legislation is being used to allow the police to make their application in private, meaning even Suzanne's own legal team has been excluded from most of the proceedings so far.

The NUJ has taken on her cause and asks fellow journalists and everyone else to support their campaign by taking action below:

Sign our petition
The Police Service of Northern Ireland, which is pushing for Suzanne Breen to reveal her source material, falls under the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Shaun Woodward MP. We need you to send him a message by signing our petition.

Sign our petition.

Please also send the link on to colleagues or circulate a hard copy around your newsroom.

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