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Journalists’ body warns on private investigator laws

A journalists’ trade body has raised concerns that government plans to regulate private investigators could have ‘serious spin-off implications’ for investigative journalism.

The Chartered Institute of Journalists issued a warning after the Home Office revealed plans last week to clamp down on unlicensed private detectives by bringing in new legislation.

Amanda Brodie, chair of the CIoJ’s Professional Practices Board, said: “We are aware that the Home Secretary has said journalists will be excluded from regulation to allow them to carry out legitimate investigations in the public interest, but we would ask who defines what is in the public interest and what is or is not a legitimate investigation?

“Whilst there may be no overt intention to muzzle journalists, our concern is that this legislation may be used in the future to interfere with the free flow of information which should be part of any democratic society.”

She added the new legislation would need to be carefully worded and the CIoJ would give its views when the government holds a public consultation.

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  • August 7, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    As a past Governing Council member of the World Association of Professional Investigators ( I am frankly amazed that this recent Media “Scaremongering” by certain Journalists, which gave the impression that the entire PI Profession were “criminal” has capitalised, as indeed has your publication on the erroneous belief that the Home Office is bringing in new legislation? The simple facts are that the Home Secretary is finally going to commence the overdue implementation of the Private Security Industry Act of 2001!! Some 12 years after it was passed. The real problem in this whole saga is the Press – the NoW who engaged Information Brokers who masqueraded as PIs and blagged and hacked and ended up in Jail, BUT bought the entire law abiding and compliant Professional Private Investigators under this “spotlight” Many of us have fought long and hard for licensing for over 60 years!! The value of a good PI has been completely overlooked by the very same media who have for years engaged our services to assist their Investigative efforts – in the public interest

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