For immediate release July 21 2000

Guardian/Observer judgement "a victory for reporters"

The High Court judgement quashing orders on two newspapers and a reporter to hand over material from their investigations into the security services is a "great victory for reporters", says the NUJ.

The court threw out all but one of a series of orders against the Guardian and the Observer and reporter Martin Bright; that one relates to a document the paper does not have and will be dropped.

But the judgement goes beyond this case and sets out principles that will allow reporters to investigate matter the security services want to keep quiet without fear of being made to disclose their information. "This is very welcome," said General Secretary John Foster. "It is a boost for investigative reporting, an area of journalism vital to society which has been in decline."

John Foster added: "The judgement has only been given because the journalists stood up for this principle themselves. We are particularly proud of Martin Bright, because his personal liberty could have been at stake if the order had been enforced and he had followed the NUJ's Code of Conduct and refused to comply."

See also: Freelance story

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