Two of America’s pre-eminent lobbying groups for journalistic rights have joined the fight against the PSNI/US government attempt to confiscate confidential Troubles-related interviews stored at Boston College. One is the Committee to Protect Journalists whose history and activities are chronicled here and here. The other is the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, which can be read about here and here.
My grateful thanks go out to both organisations. The CPJ played a huge role back in 1999 in frustrating the RUC’s attempt to confiscate my interview notes with Billy Stobie, the UDA Quarter-Master who informed his Special Branch handlers of the UDA plot to assassinate Belfast attorney, Pat Finucane. The SB, of course, sat on their hands, allowing the UDA to kill Finucane. The RUC’s successors in the PSNI have continued the tradition of turning blind eyes and deaf ears to crimes committed by or with the assistance of their forebears. Equally British PM David Cameron has no qualms about allowing the PSNI to rummage around in Boston College’s archives while refusing anyone permission to go near MI5, FRU and RUC Special Branch records on the Finucane killing.
I owed CPJ a great debt of thanks back then as I do now and I also want to thank the Reporters Committee for their support. Here are articles that appeared recently on their blogs.
First the Committee to Protect Journalists:
The Reporters Committee: