Evidence suggests army tracked journalist

  • 30/07/2013

Freelance reporter Jon Stephenson is convinced the Defence Force and the Government have been monitoring his calls, and evidence found by 3 News in a recent court case appears to back that up.

"I have very specific information that leaves me in no doubt that there has been collection of my metadata," says Mr Stephenson.

He said it is not just his phone that had been monitored, but also his travels.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman says the army should not take such steps.

"I wouldn't expect the Defence Force to track his travels. I don't think it would be a valid thing to do.

"If you've got any information you should bring it forward, but as far as I know there has never been any monitoring of him."

That information may already be a matter of public record.

In Mr Stephenson's defamation case against the Chief of the Defence Force, the former head of the SAS admitted he ordered his men to be on the lookout for Mr Stephenson in Afghanistan in 2010.

"I was aware that he was travelling," said Colonel Chris Parsons while being questioned during the court case.

"I had been told he was travelling overseas. I presumed it was Afghanistan and I presumed he would want to have a look at us."

"A senior Defence Force member told me they got it from Immigration," says Mr Stephenson. "I can't confirm that."

This comes after it was revealed a security manual used by the Defence Force for 10 years gave instructions some investigative journalists should be seen as threats to national security.

3 News

Historic footage of Jon Stephenson used courtesy of the documentary He Toki Huna: New Zealand in Afghanistan, which is currently showing at the NZ International Film Festival.

source: newshub archive