Notice of application for order: confidential journalistic data

Part of Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Bill [Lords] – in a Public Bill Committee am 11:15 am ar 18 Rhagfyr 2018.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Nick Thomas-Symonds Nick Thomas-Symonds Shadow Solicitor General, Shadow Minister (Home Office) (Security) 11:15, 18 Rhagfyr 2018

Clause 12 states:

“An application for an overseas production order must be made on notice if there are reasonable grounds for believing that the electronic data specified or described in the application consists of or includes journalistic data that is confidential journalistic data.”

Amendment 3 is designed to broaden that notice requirement to include material that might not be counted as strictly confidential but is nevertheless sensitive. When there is an application for journalistic data, amendment 10 would mean that the court must not determine that application in the absence of the journalist affected, unless the journalist has had at least two business days to make representations, or the court is satisfied that that would not be appropriate on a number of other counts. These two matters are important, and I urge the Minister to consider them carefully.

The notice requirement often enables a negotiation to take place between the media organisation to which the journalist belongs, or the journalist themselves, regarding what data it is appropriate to provide. It would also enable the media organisation or journalist formally to oppose the application if necessary. We believe that those are important safeguards. The notice requirement is helpful for the overall protection of journalistic material that we have discussed during our deliberations on a number of different clauses, and it is a fundamental aspect of fairness in such situations. It is not that there is a blanket exception to material becoming available in appropriate circumstances, but the amendment would introduce an appropriate balance that allows the journalist or media organisation to put forward their concerns and try to ensure that we protect our free press and investigative journalism—something I am sure all members of the Committee wish to do.