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Search & Surveillance Bill goes too far, EPMU

Monday, 8 November 2010

News Release

Search & Surveillance Bill goes too far, EPMU

The government’s Search & Surveillance Bill goes too far in extending search and seizure powers to allow the police to order journalists to hand over documents and reveal the identity of their sources, says the Engineering, Printing and Manufacturing Union (EPMU).

These powers were recently used by the SFO to order the production of documents in the possession of the National Business Review as part of the SFO inquiry into South Canterbury Finance Ltd.

“The EPMU shares concerns about freedom of the press and the confidentiality of sources that have been expressed by Labour and Green MPs on the Justice and Electoral Select Committee,” says EPMU national secretary Andrew Little.

“The government should withdraw the extension of examination and production orders to the police from the Bill,” he says.

“The democratic principle that information gathered by journalists in the course of their duties needs to be protected from seizure by state agencies and reflected in our laws, not eroded,” says EPMU national secretary Andrew Little.

“If we don't protect the freedom and independence of the media from state agencies then we are no better than dictatorships and other abusers of citizens' democratic freedoms,” he says.

The EPMU is New Zealand’s largest private sector union with around 45,000 members across eleven industry sectors. It represents around 1,000 journalists in print and broadcasting and is affiliated to the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ).

ENDS

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