Sinn Féin seeking meeting with the Chief Constable on attempts to silence journalists

Sinn Féin MLA Gerry Kelly has said he will be seeking a meeting with the Chief Constable of the PSNI about revelations this week in relation to the covert surveillance of journalists by police.

The revelations emerged at a hearing of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal in London.

The party’s policing spokesperson said, “Sinn Féin is seeking a meeting with the PSNI Chief Constable Jon Boutcher about worrying revelations this week at a hearing of the Investigatory Powers Tribunal on the covert surveillance of journalists.

“The tribunal is examining allegations that investigative journalists involved in a documentary ‘No Stone Unturned’ on the Loughinisland Massacre, Barry McCaffrey and Trevor Birney, were subject to unlawful covert surveillance.

“Disclosure from this tribunal has now also pointed to extensive covert surveillance and the harvesting on an industrial scale of the phone data of journalists by the police.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that police and British state bodies have gone to extreme lengths to monitor and silence journalists rather than deal with the allegations of collusion and police corruption which journalists have shone a light on.

“We are deeply concerned about this week’s revelations and we will be pressing the Chief Constable for answers on the PSNI’s involvement in these tactics.”

Sinn Féin MP John Finucane said earlier in the day, “In court today the PSNI stand accused of spying on an industrial scale on journalists they accuse of “always looking for a story”.

“This is extraordinary & clearly unlawful. Police have made the decision to criminalise journalists & use any means necessary to find out their sources instead of investigating the wrongdoing reported!

“This case is shining a light on police actions & transparency & those actions need to be held accountable.

“Journalism is not a crime!”