The Reporters Committee, represented by Harte Coyle Collins, Solicitors & Advocates, submitted an application for Intervener status with the High Court of Justice in Northern Ireland, Queen’s Bench Division, in the ongoing judicial review launched by filmmakers and journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey. Birney and McCaffrey are seeking to challenge their arrests and searches of their homes and business premises, which occurred after they referenced in their film, “No Stone Unturned,” an unpublished draft of a government report that was sent to them anonymously. The film was directed and co-produced by American filmmaker Alex Gibney, who serves on the Reporters Committee’s steering committee and who has been informed that he is a suspect in the case.
In its application, the Reporters Committee seeks to submit to the court a brief addressing the legal protections afforded to U.S. journalists under the First Amendment and U.S. Constitution, U.S. statutory protections restricting the search of journalists’ homes and workplaces, and state-level laws that protect journalists from having to disclose confidential sources and/or work product. The brief would also address the adverse effect that the absence of such protections has on the public’s ability to receive information about matters of public interest, especially about national security reporting that often relies on legal protections for the publication of material even if that material was acquired unlawfully by a source.