Down Memory Lane in Longford: New assault on press freedom

David Clarke

Reporter:

David Clarke

Email:

newsroom@longfordleader.ie

Down Memory Lane in Longford:

A well known journalist from Co Longford was jailed by the Military Tribunal, a report in the Longford Leader back in 1971 has shown

A famous journalist from Longford was sent to jail by the Military Tribunal that pontificated over Irish judicial matters around the war years.

His name was Joseph Dennigan and his “crime” was that he refused to reveal the sources from which he derived an important political story.

In contrast to Irish law, an American journalist was recently freed on appeal for the same “misdemeanor”; he refused to reveal confidential matters supplied to him by the organisation known as the “Black Panthers”.

Another contrast again was that of the jailing of the BBC man Bernard Falk for refusing to identify his interviewee as an IRA man. Northern Ireland justice was diminished by that decision.

Again this week the citadel of the press is being assaulted by representatives of so-called democracy. An Irish political magazine

“This Week” obtained exclusive information on certain activities just prior and eventually leading up to the Arms Trial.

Last week the Dail Committee set up to investigate the Funds for the North demanded that the editor should make the material he had gathered available to them.

Legally the Irish courts can arraign pressmen for keeping their guarantees to their sources, in fact, the Irish courts can arraign priests on the same count because the law here does not yet recognise the inviolability of the confessional.