Refugee Act, 1996

Protection of identity of applicants.

19.—(1) The Commissioner, the Appeal Board, the Minister, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and their respective officers shall take all practicable steps to ensure that the identity of applicants is kept confidential.

(2) Subject to sections 9 (15) and 26 , no matter likely to lead members of the public to identify a person as an applicant under this Act shall be published in a written publication available to the public or be broadcast without the consent of that person and the consent of the Minister (which shall not be unreasonably withheld).

(3) If any matter is published or broadcast in contravention of subsection (2), the following persons, namely—

(a) in the case of a publication in a newspaper or periodical, any proprietor, an editor and any publisher of the newspaper or periodical,

(b) in the case of any other publication, the person who publishes it, and

(c) in the case of matter broadcast, any person who transmits or provides the programme in which the broadcast is made and any person having functions in relation to the programme corresponding to those of the editor of a newspaper,

shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding £1,500 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.

(4) Where a person is charged with an offence under subsection (3) it shall be a defence to prove that at the time of the alleged offence he or she was not aware, and neither suspected nor had reason to suspect, that the publication or broadcast in question was of such matter as is mentioned in subsection (2).

(5) In this section—

“a broadcast” means the transmission, relaying or distribution by wireless telegraphy of communications, sounds, signs, visual images or signals intended for direct reception by the general public whether such communications, sounds, signs, visual images or signals are actually received or not;

“written publication” includes a film, a sound track and any other record in permanent form (including a record that is not in a legible form but which is capable of being reproduced in a legible form) but does not include an indictment or other document prepared for use in particular legal proceedings.