By Jack Doyle | DailyMail.co.uk
Police are set to be given new powers to seize confidential material from journalists.
In a worrying blow to Press freedom, the changes may also mean journalists will be forced to identify whistleblowers to the police.
Critics said the Home Office proposals, which follow recommendations made by Lord Justice Leveson, would undermine investigative journalism and free speech.
It is feared that the changes will remove legal protections for anyone who releases material to reporters unless journalists can show their source did not breach confidentiality or act illegally.
The computer disc that contained the details of how MPs had been rampantly fiddling their expenses was technically stolen by a Westminster employee.
Padraig Reidy, of Index on Censorship, said: ‘These measures, if implemented, could have a real effect on journalism, free speech and the entire climate of freedom in the UK.
‘They grievously undermine the concept of confidentiality between reporters and sources that is essential for investigative journalism.’
Currently, journalists have protection under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) from disclosing material to the police, even if it had been obtained by a source acting in breach of confidence or unlawfully.
But during the Leveson inquiry, the police argued those protections should be removed, and the judge agreed.
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