BBC and UTV oppose PSNI bid to sieze Derry footage

It has been claimed that if the BBC and UTV are compelled to hand over footage taken during disturbances in Derry this year, there is a danger that the media will be seen as evidence gatherers

The statement was made in Derry Magistrates Court by barrister Fiona Lynch representing both media organisations.

They are opposing an application by the PSNI to seize footage taken on August 12 and 13 during disturbances in which a pipe bomb and petrol bombs were thrown at police.

A barrister for the PSNI told Judge Piers Grant that he anticipated that part of the application would relate to the danger posed to the media if the production order was granted.

He said that there had been no evidence that such a danger existed and that it had to be 'a real and continuing danger'.

He referred to the case involving a journalist Suzanne Breen when the Recorder in Belfast ruled that she did not have to hand over material, and he said that this case was different as there was no question of compromising sources.

In response Ms Lynch said that Judge Grant was all too aware that 'a very real and potent threat' existed in the Derry area.

She said it was accepted that this riot had been orchestrated by dissident republicans and that these groups had made threats against people assisting the police describing them as 'legitimate targets.'

The barrister said that Derry was a small community, and that the media were well known and resided in the city.

Judge Grant reserved judgement on the application and said he would give his judgement next Tuesday.