Page last updated at 10:56 GMT, Thursday, 19 June 2008 11:56 UK

Fresh hearing in terror book row

Shiv Malik
Shiv Malik now faces a second hearing

A new hearing will be held to re-examine the extent of a production order made against a journalist under anti-terror laws.

Shiv Malik was ordered to give police his notes from an interview with former terrorist supporter Hassan Butt.

Mr Butt, 28, has spoken of his past involvement in terrorist activity, which he says he has renounced.

High Court judges ruled a production order against Mr Malik was justified but its terms were "too wide".

The original order, made under anti-terror laws, required him to disclose all source material for his book, entitled Leaving al Qaeda: Inside The Mind Of A British Jihadist.

Mr Malik, of north-west London, has worked on the book with Hassan Butt, a British citizen from Manchester, who has previously admitted to fund-raising for terror networks.

In a free society journalists should never themselves be prosecuted for carrying out their regular functions
Shiv Malik

The freelance journalist had challenged the order, obtained by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in March following references to Mr Butt by a Mr A, a defendant in a forthcoming criminal trial in September.

Lord Justice Dyson, sitting with Mr Justice Pitchford and Mr Justice Ouseley said GMP "would be acting irresponsibly" if they did not investigate the activities of Mr Butt, but said the order was too wide.

They ordered a new hearing on 26 June to decide "the precise terms and scope of the order".

Speaking afterwards, Mr Malik - who will have to return to court later this month - called the ruling a "victory for common sense".

He said: "They have denied the police the right to go on unlimited fishing expeditions.

Hassan Butt
Hassan Butt insists he has now renounced terrorism

"In so doing, they recognised the right of sensible and determined investigative journalists to protect confidential sources.

"In a free society journalists should never themselves be prosecuted for carrying out their regular functions and I am grateful to the judges in the High Court for raising their concerns on this point of law."

Granted under Schedule 5 of the 2000 Terrorism Act, the production order stipulates production of source material for the book, "all material" generated as a result of the project, and all information in Mr Malik's possession regarding the alleged terrorist activities of Mr Butt.

Refusal to comply with the order could lead to contempt of court proceedings and Mr Malik could face a two-year jail sentence.

Opposition to the move by GMP has been voiced by a number of media organisations, including the National Union of Journalists, which welcomed the decision.

Det Ch Supt Tony Porter, head of GMP Counter Terrorism Unit, said: "The work to tackle terrorism and extremism is very difficult but officers have to put the safety of the public first.

"GMP recognises the vital role journalists play in reporting on crime and security, and understands the concerns they have raised. However, we have a responsibility to investigate terrorism and we will use all appropriate legislation to do that.

"We do not take this responsibility lightly and consider all the implications before taking any action, but public protection has to remain our priority."


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FROM OTHER NEWS SITES
Kentucky.com British court says order on journalist too broad - 12 hrs ago
Birmingham Post Author Malik wins partial victory over guarding source - 14 hrs ago
Biggleswade Chronicle Writer claims partial victory in high court - 16 hrs ago
Fresno BeeBritish court says order on journalist too broad - 16 hrs ago
Kings Lynn News Fresh hearing to be held into writer's anti-terror order - 21 hrs ago
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