European Federation of Journalists

Spain: Police seized journalists’ documentation and devices in relation to corruption case

Spanish police officers raided the headquarters of Spanish news agency Europa Press and newspaper Diario de Mallorca, on 11 December, to confiscate documents and personal devices of several journalists. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) joined their Spanish affiliates, FeSP, FAPE and CCOO, in condemning the police operation, which is a serious violation of the right of journalists to protect their sources. This right is a fundamental pillar of press freedom and is protected by the 20th article of the Spanish Constitution. Its violation is an attack on the free exercise of journalism. According to Europa…

Netherlands: New ‘Source Protection Act’ finally enters into force

On 1st October, the Source Protection Act in Criminal Cases has finally become effective in the Netherlands. The law provides strengthened protection for the confidentiality of journalists’ sources, which have been recognised in several cases as an essential part of freedom of expression by the European Court of Human Rights. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its Dutch affiliate the NVJ in welcoming the law, defined by NVJ General Secretary Thomas Bruning as “necessary to the correct functioning of journalism”. With the Source Protection Act, there will always be a preliminary consideration by a judge before the police can have access to the sources data…

Investigative reporter Pavla Holcova’s phone seized after eight-hour interrogation related to Jan Kuciak’s murder

Investigative journalist Pavla Holcova, former colleague of Jan Kuciak and founder of the Czech Center for Investigative Reporting, was interrogated by the Slovak National Crime Agency during eight hours on Tuesday 15 May, after which her phone was seized. Ms Holcova had been working with Jan Kuciak on behalf of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) when he was murdered and had therefore previously helped police telling what she knew. She first believed this new summons was another meeting to help investigating the murder of Jan Kuciak. But the interrogation lasted over eight hours and was not about Kuciak’s killing. In…

Protection of sources: Norwegian journalist won in Strasbourg

Ordering a journalist to give evidence on a source is not justified, even though the source himself has come forward to the police. That’s the main outcome of a decision of the European Court of Human Rights, today, regarding the case launched in 2012 by Norwegian journalist Cecilie Langum Becker, who was ordered to give evidence on her contacts with her source for an article about the Norwegian Oil Company, and fears that it might collapse. The European Court recalled that a journalist’s protection could not automatically be removed because of a source’s conduct. Bearing in mind its previous judgments emphasising the chilling…

Whistleblowers need EU protection: sign the petition #whistleEU

On 17 October, a platform initiated by Eurocadres (Council of European Professional and Managerial Staff) calling for an EU-wide whistleblower protection was launched by the first 48 signatories of a joint statement, including the European Federation of Journalists (EFJ). The EFJ is encouraging individuals and organisations to sign the petition. At a press conference at the Brussels Press Club , representatives of Eurocadres, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), Transparency International and the EFJ all emphasised the importance of joining forces on this crucial issue. Following the debate before summer of the trade secrets…

France: parliament voted to restrict journalists’ protection of sources

The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) joined its French affiliates, the Syndicat national des journalistes (SNJ) and the Syndicat national des journalistes-CGT (SNJ-CGT), to denounce the last-minute amendment voted on Monday 18 July by the National Assembly, to restrict journalists’ protection of sources, only a few days following the Nice attack. Submitted a few hours before the new reading of the proposal to strengthen the freedom, independence and pluralism of the media, the amendment foresees to restrict the protection of journalists’ sources when they violate the “secret of national defence” and “the fundamental interests of the Nation.” This extension is considered “indispensable” because of…

UK High Court rules against data retention rules

The UK’s High Court has ruled that parts of the controversial surveillance law, the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA), violated article 7 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights and the personal data protection laws. The EFJ affiliate in the UK, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ), has long been campaigning against DRIPA to ensure that the right of journalists to protect their confidential sources is protected. On Friday 17 July, the High Court of Justice of England and Wales found that UK surveillance laws are incompatible with the European convention on human rights and the EU charter…

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