October 27 1999

Belfast court win ‘a victory for journalism’

The journalist's duty to protect sources of information has been thoroughly vindicated by today's Belfast High Court decision to throw out the order against NUJ member Ed Moloney to hand over notes of an interview to police.

Ed Moloney, Belfast editor of the Dublin-based Sunday Tribune, said: "This is a victory for journalism."

The Court quashed an order made by Antrim Crown Court that he surrender notes of an interview with William Stobie, charged with the murder in 1989 of solicitor Pat Finucane.

NUJ General Secretary John Foster said today's decision was a blow to attempts by the authorities to undermine the independence and integrity of the media by commandeering material to trawl for evidence.

The judge ruled that it was not enough for police to say that the notes might contain information useful to them; they would have to give stronger reasons for an order. "I am sure most journalists' notebooks contain material that might be useful to police, especially in Northern Ireland," said John Foster.

Ed Moloney's case had become a cause celebre for journalists. He was supported by his employer, by his union and by journalists' organisations around the world.

Contact: Tim Gopsill or John Foster,

0207-843 3701

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A win in court!


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