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BBC raises concerns on alleged surveillance
Vincent Kearney (Pic: RollingNews.ie)

02 May 2024 / policing Print

BBC alleges police surveillance of journalist

Lawyers acting for the BBC have written to Britain’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal about alleged police surveillance of a former journalist at the broadcaster.

The tribunal is an independent judicial body that provide a right of redress to anyone who believes they have been the victim of unlawful action by a public authority using covert investigative techniques.

The case concerns Vincent Kearney, who is now RTÉ's Northern Editor, but previously worked on BBC’s Spotlight programme and presented a programme about the Police Ombudsman's office in 2011.

Identification of sources

Kearney believes that the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) may have attempted to identify sources of information for the programme.

In a statement, the BBC said: "We have instructed lawyers to write to the Investigatory Powers tribunal about the alleged PSNI surveillance of telephone data linked to the work of Vincent Kearney during his employment with the BBC.

"We think serious issues of public interest are involved, including in relation to the adverse effects that surveillance may have on journalistic investigations and freedoms."

The programme at the centre of the complaint, ‘The Whistleblower and the Watchdog’, examined allegations that the independence of the Police Ombudsman had been compromised, and that complaints about police activities had not been investigated with sufficient rigour.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland