Journalism Research Group Condemns Interception of Reporters Data by Police

© AP/FOTOLINKBritish police officers patrol the road leading to Kensington Palace
British police officers patrol the road leading to Kensington Palace - Sputnik International
The Center for Investigative Journalism deplores the breach of reporters' privacy by UK police, as it can silence media.

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MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The surveillance of journalists is an unacceptable "totalitarian effort" to create fear in the media, Director of the Center for Investigative Journalism Gavin MacFadyen told Sputnik Thursday.

The comment follows the recently published Interception of Communications Commissioner's Office (IOCCO) report blaming British police for making applications to reveal journalists' sources.

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"I certainly view the surveillance of journalists as a chilling, totalitarian effort, the effect of which is to further create fear amongst sources and even amongst the press themselves. From the outside this increases state control of free speech and further constrains a free press," MacFayden, a supporter and personal friend of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, said.

On Wednesday, the IOCCO issued a report for British Prime Minister David Cameron saying that over the past three years UK police have made over 600 requests to uncover reporters' confidential sources using anti-terror legislation.

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The interception of communications commissioner, Sir Anthony May, said that police "did not give due consideration to freedom of speech," while the UK Home Office has done little to protect journalistic sources. The commissioner recommended that police forces should seek judicial permission to obtain reporters' sources.

Earlier on Thursday, the IOCCO confirmed to Sputnik that David Cameron had accepted their recommendations.

The IOCCO is a British surveillance watchdog that reviews the interception of communications and the disclosure of communications data. It prepares a report for the British prime minister every six months.

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