Producers Handbook

Protection of Sources

Although Section 7 of the NUJ Code states that "A journalist shall protect confidential sources of information", the law does not give an unqualified right to journalists not to divulge sources, as it does to lawyers regarding their client's affairs. The Court's ruling in a 1992 case concerning Prevention of Terrorism legislation was that journalists should not give unqualified undertakings to their sources that they will never disclose their identity but should (and properly only could) pledge not to disclose unless ordered to do so by a court. To do otherwise would be to pledge to commit contempt, a criminal offence. See 'Issues Requiring Reference-up'.