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Speak in safety:parliamentary event 11 April

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Posted by NUJ News release

Surveillance campaigners are challenging MPs to boost safety and confidentiality measures in the controversial Investigatory Powers Bill, before it is rushed in to law. On Monday evening the Speak in Safety campaign hosts an event in Parliament, chaired by Joanna Cherry QC MP, to persuade MPs and Lords that more caution is needed. Crucial clauses in the Bill are up for debate in Committee the next day. According to the Speak in Safety campaign, the Bill does not protect the safety and confidentiality of sources and whistle-blowers, or of individuals seeking legal representation.

Headed by the NUJ, the Bar Council and the Law Society, Speak in Safety campaigners argue it is in the public and national interest that illegality and wrong-doing are reported and that citizens can access legal representation. The campaigners are calling on parliamentarians to support amendments to the Investigatory Powers Bill.  

Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary said: “The current proposals contained in the investigatory powers bill are a risk to all journalists, journalistic sources and whistle-blowers. “The draft law must be changed to guarantee press freedom and enable journalistic sources and whistle-blowers to speak in safety.”  

Chair of the Bar, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC said: “We know that Government agencies have in the past improperly eavesdropped on communications between litigants and their legal advisers. “Clients who cannot be sure that conversations with their legal representative are held in confidence often fail to communicate information which is vital to their case, thus compromising their right to a fair hearing.”  

President of the Law Society, Jonathan Smithers, said: “The law must guarantee citizens safe and secure channels of communication when they seek advice from their lawyers. Anything which results in a breach of this most fundamental of human rights is a violation of the rule of law.”  

Event details: The Speak in Safety event takes place on Monday 11 April, 17.00-18.30, Committee Room 11, Houses of Parliament.  

The event will be chaired by Joanna Cherry QC MP, and speakers include Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ General Secretary, Chantal-Aimée Doerries QC, Chair of the Bar, and Robert Bourns, Law Society Vice President.    

DATELINE: 8 April, 2016


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