AMNESTY International has launched a guide, What to do if you think the PSNI has been spying on you, for journalists in Northern Ireland.

The security guidance comes in the aftermath of news that the phone records of Belfast-based journalist Barry McCaffrey were secretly searched by the PSNI [Police Service of Northern Ireland], during an investigation into allegations that a senior member of the force received payments from a private company.

Patrick Corrigan, Amnesty International’s Northern Ireland Programme Director, said: “Following the revelations about PSNI accessing Barry McCaffrey’s phone records, we know that there are journalists in newsrooms across Northern Ireland deeply concerned that they may have been subject to police spying. That’s why we have published this guidance for journalists and human rights defenders, with practical advice on what they can do to find out if their phone records have been snooped on.

“Journalists play a crucial role in holding those in authority to account and have a long-established right to protect their sources. We are determined to get to the bottom of this police spying scandal, to discover how widespread this practice has been and to ensure it never happens again.”

On 24 July, Amnesty International and the Committee on the Administration of Justice wrote jointly to the Policing Board to ask them to conduct a thorough investigation of the PSNI’s use of secret surveillance against journalists and other human rights defenders in Northern Ireland.

* Read the guide for journalists here.

* Source: Amnesty International