Official Secrets Act- Reflection

The lesson about the official secrets act left very much the impression that, as journalists, we need to be very aware of the act which was most recently updated in 1989, but the likelihood of us actually coming across it in our work is very low.

One thing that was very effectively communicated to us about it was that we should pay particular reference to the story about The Guardian when the police tried to use the act to try and get them to reveal sources they had regarding the News of the World phone hacking scandal which The Guardian refuted and ended up winning a big legal battle.

We also learnt that Civil Servants work for particular governmental departments and are employed regardless of who the government minister is of that department, they are not supposed to speak to the press but they are a good source of whistleblower stories.

We found out that there are 22 government ministers in the cabinet and, until the recent reshuffle, it was very much a closed shop of nearly all white men of a particular age range and background, this is now slightly more balanced out since the general election in May.

What I have taken from this lesson is that the official secrets act does have a definite affect on journalism but it does work both ways for us because it does certainly stop us gaining certain information or affect how we do our job, but it does also protect us certainly when it comes to keeping our sources secret.

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