Journalists unite behind Real IRA sources fight

More than 5,000 people have signed petitions supporting sources-fight journalist Suzanne Breen.

The Northern Ireland editor of the Sunday Tribune has received backing from across the political spectrum and from journalists across Ireland and all over the world in her fight to resist handing over to the police notes and other information relating to her contact with Real IRA sources.

Breen is due in court on Thursday to defend herself against a production order made under the Terrorism Act to hand over phones, computers and notes.

She could face up to five years in jail for refusing the order – but she has said that if she does hand over her notes her life would be put in danger.

She has been targeted by police after taking a claim of responsibility over the telephone from the Real IRA after the shooting dead of two soldiers at Massereene Barracks in March. She also interviewed a member of the Real IRA for her paper’s Easter Sunday edition on 12 April.

Those backing Breen include: broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, Panorama’s John Ware, BBC Northern Ireland controller Peter Johnston, Channel 4 presenters Jon Snow and Alex Thomson and Sky News managing editor Simon Cole.

Thomson said: “The public in interest in the right of people to approach journalists confidentially must always outweight the short-term needs of the state.”

Other journalists backing Breen include Michael Crick and Mark Urban from the BBC’s Newsnight; Sunday Times Ireland editor Frank Fitzgibbon; Irish Times editor Geraldine Kennedy; Sunday World editor Colm MacGint; Belfast Telegraph editor Martin Lindsay; The Newsletter editor Darwin Templeton; Independent editor Roger Alton; Independent on Sunday editor John Mullin and director of the Society of editors Bob Satchwell.

Celebrities backing Breen include singer Christy Moore and actor Stephen Rea.

Her petition has been signed by one former police assistant chief constable, two former detective chief superintendants and two former detective superintendents.

Her cause has also won backing from across the political spectrum in Ireland with Democratic Unionist Party justice spokesman Ian Paisley junior among those to have signed her petition.

Weblink:

The NUJ petition supporting Suzanne Breen

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