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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Conditions and safeguards: Restrictions: Journalistic material

You cannot require a person to produce ‘journalistic material’ or provide information from journalistic material.

‘Journalistic material’ is fairly self-explanatory and excuses an investigative journalist from disclosing source material.

‘Journalistic material’ is defined in Section 12 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. It means material acquired or created for the purposes of journalism.

Material is journalistic material only if it is

  • in the possession of a person who acquired or created it for the purposes of journalism, that is a journalist, or
  • unsolicited material sent to a person with the intention of it being used for journalism.

Material is either journalistic or it is not. There is no partial access to journalistic material such as there is to ‘personal records’, see CH22180.

FA08/SCH36/PARA19 (1)(b)