[2018] ** E3: Defend journalism in the public interest 

carried motion
Carried motion

Received from: ,

 Emergency motion

Congress condemns the arrest last month of two Belfast-based journalists and NUJ members responsible for a documentary film that highlights collusion between the British army, RUC police and Loyalist paramilitaries in an unsolved murder investigation in Northern Ireland. 

The film, No Stone Unturned, sheds light on six unsolved murders and a violent attack on civilians in 1994 and contains information based on a leaked Police Ombudsman report.  

Congress believes that the ability of journalists to act in the public interest is contingent on their ability to honour commitments made to confidential sources and whistleblowers and calls for the immediate lifting of the threat of legal action against the journalists Trevor Birney and Barry McCaffrey following their arrest on 31 August 2018.  

Congress further notes that the protection of journalistic sources is a key principle enshrined in the NUJ’s ethical code of conduct and that, under international law and the European Convention of Human Rights, the highest priority must be afforded to the journalistic right to protect information and material received and published in the public interest. 

Congress therefore calls on the General Council to: 


  1. condemn the targeting of whistleblowers and the criminalisation of journalists  
  2. endorse the NUJ campaign and disseminate related information via the TUC’s e-newsletters and website 
  3. encourage trade union members to support the campaign by screening the film at union meetings 
  4. support the NUJ’s efforts to defend public interest journalism and journalists.  


Mover:National Union of Journalists 

Seconder:Communication Workers Union