INDEPENDENT NEWS

Journalists Phone Records Released

Published: Tue 30 Jul 2013 02:34 PM
Journalists Phone Records Released
Parliament Speaker David Carter has admitted a journalist's phone records were handed over in a ministerial enquiry after earlier denying this had happened.
It has been reported Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance's phone records were accessed as part of an inquiry into the leak of a report about the Government Communication and Security Bureau.
Three months of phone records had been supplied to David Henry by Parliamentary Services and the Speaker said this should have never happened.
According to Mr Carter, the records were returned without being viewed.
"I stress that the David Henry inquiry never requested this information and recorded that fact immediately the information was received. I am further advised that this information was not used by the inquiry."
He has apologised to Ms Vance and to her employer.
Stuff quoted Mr Carter saying:
"The private information should not have been released and could be seen to attack the freedom of the press which is critical to informing the public about what Parliament is doing and ensuring public confidence in Parliament. I view any actions that may put at risk journalists' ability to report very seriously."
He said he had asked Parliamentary Services to look into ensuring this kind of information release did not happen again.
Fairfax group executive editor Paul Thompson said he was “deeply concerned” that the information was handed over.
Updates Responses and Tweets:
In Parliament John Key said the information was incorrectly sent by Parliamentary Services and that it was never viewed.
Speaker David Carter
In Parliament today Speaker David Carter said the release of the information was a breach of trust.
“I will do everything in my power to get to the bottom of it.”
No one asked Parliamentary Services to release the documents, rather someone had enthusiastically overridden what they should have done, Mr Carter said.
The rules around the use of swipecards in the Beehive needed to be made clear.
The sooner the committee can report back and clarify the rules the better it is for the press, parliamentarians and democracy in New Zealand, he said.
Mr Carter said the matter should be referred to the Privileges Committee.
Media Commentator Gavin Ellis posted to Kiwi Journalists Association Facebook page:
“Journalists will condemn in the strongest terms the open assault on media freedom represented by the seizure of a Dominion Post reporter's phone records. Members of the Kiwi Journalists Association Facebook page (which is restricted to present and former professional journalists) can add their support to this condemnation by 'liking' this post. The result will be forwarded to the New Zealand Government.” https://www.facebook.com/groups/216332661716385/
Thnx for messages everyone. FFX talking on this one, so I will be (uncharacteristically) quiet today.— Andrea Vance (@avancenz) July 30, 2013
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This is the first time I've ever seen parliamentary question time on TV in a cafe. #nzqt #wellingtonlife— Thomas Beagle (@thomasbeagle) July 30, 2013
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Russel Norman's question to the Prime Minister: "Did his Chief of Staff, Wayne Eagleson, advise Parliamentary Service that United Future Leader Hon Peter Dunne had agreed to cooperate with the Henry inquiry and had consented to releasing his electronic phone logs; if so, why?"
ENDS

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