Police harassment threatens freedom of the press

15 October, 2014

The New Zealand Police must abandon their harassment of investigative journalist Nicky Hager, says the union representing New Zealand journalists.

On Thursday 2 October, six police officers raided Mr Hager’s home to seize his property in an attempt to identify the source of information for his book Dirty Politics.

This is an extremely concerning tactic given that Mr Hager is merely a witness in the case, and not a suspect. It will have a chilling effect on journalism in New Zealand.

Protecting sources is a key ethical consideration for journalists and is essential if information in the public interest is to be reported. That includes the information contained in Dirty Politics.

Without the ability and commitment to protect sources, the free flow of information, which is vital to a properly functioning democracy, is under threat.

Mr Hager has received overwhelming support since the police raid. However, no journalist should have to rely on public donations and lawyers to defend their principles, and journalism should never be subject to police intimidation.

To protect the basic democratic principle of a free press, the police should immediately return all property removed from Mr Hager’s home, and abandon their harassment of him.

 

ENDS 

For more information contact:

Paul Tolich, EPMU print and media industry organiser: 0275 935 595
Stephanie Rodgers, EPMU communications officer: 022 269 1170