New Zealand says no evidence it spied on reporter
WELLINGTON (AP) - New Zealand's acting defence force chief said on Monday that there is no evidence the military unlawfully spied on a journalist in Afghanistan who was freelancing for US news organisation McClatchy.
The statement came in response to a report in the Sunday Star-Times newspaper that the military collected phone metadata to spy on journalist Jon Stephenson, a New Zealander. The story by journalist Nicky Hager said the military became unhappy at Mr Stephenson's reporting on how it treated Afghan prisoners.
Also on Monday, the country's Minister of Defense Jonathan Coleman acknowledged the existence of an embarrassing confidential order that lists investigative journalists alongside spies and terrorists as potential threats to New Zealand's military.
The acting defense force chief, Major General Tim Keating, said the military officers responsible for operations in Afghanistan have assured him that there had been no unlawful monitoring of Mr Stephenson by New Zealand or foreign spy agencies.