New Zealand's military chiefs Monday denied authorizing illegal spying on an investigative journalist who reported unfavorably on the New Zealand Defence Force's handling of prisoners in Afghanistan.
Acting Chief of Defence Force, Major General Tim Keating, responded to a report in the Sunday Star-Times newspaper that alleged that the NZDF obtained copies of journalist Jon Stephenson's phone metadata in Afghanistan, reports Xinhua.
Keating said that he had asked NZDF officers in Afghanistan if they had spied on Stephenson as alleged and they assured him they had not.
"This includes asking foreign organizations to do this on our behalf," he said.
Eearlier Monday, Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman Monday ordered the NZDF to review its orders in response to the report's revelation that the Defence Force regarded the investigative journalists a "threat".
"My view is that the reference to investigative journalists should be removed from this order. It is inappropriate and heavy handed," he said.