I shudder to think that the first piece I wrote for Press Gazette about the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA) and its potential threat to journalism was last century. Back then there was widespread concern that the new act, which was designed with prevention of terrorist activity in mind, could be used by a variety of public bodies to collect information about reporters' communications with their sources.

That threat has never gone away - despite reassurances from government, police forces and other public authorities throughout the intervening decade and a half. Now my old magazine is so concerned about the creeping use of RIPA that it has started an online campaign.

Save Our Sources sets out to defend that sacrosanct journalistic principle that the confidentiality of the source is vital in order that journalism can do its job of holding power effectively to account.

When sources start to believe that by contacting a reporter they are leaving themselves open to interference from the police or others, they will simply stop doing it. Whistleblowers will stay silent. Stories of vital public interest will go unreported.

PG has a collection of stories on the subject here. They don't make for comfortable reading.

And here is where you can sign its petition, on the Change.org web site.

Comments

I've just signed this important petition. Please add your support. This was my comment: After 50 years in journalism it grieves me to think our Government is willing to harm a freedom that is at the heart of our democracy. We should protect it, boast about it and strengthen it, not damage and decry it.

Sign Press Gazette's petition to protect confidential sources