EFJ Denounces Government Search of RTL Emails

The European Federation of Journalists learned that the public prosecutor’s office of Luxembourg searched the premises of the Broadcasting Center Europe S.A., which manages computer resources for the RTL Group and the email system for RTL-Radio Lëtzebuerg and RTL Télé Luxembourg.

Journalists’ organisations in Luxembourg, the Association Luxembourgeoise des Journalistes(ALJ), the Union Luxembourgeoise des Journalistes (ULJ) and the Syndicat des Journalistes-Luxembourg (SJ-L), said the only aim of Monday’s search was to identify a journalistic source in the framework of an inquiry about the hacking of an email address belonging to the police.

“It is a flagrant violation of freedom of the press,” said Philippe Leruth, EFJ vice-President. “Protection of sources has been at the centre of discussions these days, both in Europe and in the United States. Journalists know that it is a fundamental principle for their profession. Nothing can justify a search in newsrooms or in journalists’ homes.”

The EFJ supports the protests of the ALJ, the ULJ and the SJ-L. The EFJ emphasizes, as do the three other organisations, that journalists’ sources are protected in Luxembourg by the national law on Freedom of Expression in the Media and by Article 10 of the European Charter of Human Rights. The EFJ also says that the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg ruled in favour of protecting the anonymity of journalistic sources, calling it a ”cornerstone of Press Freedom,” in its Goodwin judgement.

In the present case, according to a provisory legal analysis requested by the management of RTL, the search definitely breaks Luxembourg’s law protecting freedom of expression in the media. The offence of computer piracy is not among the exceptions provided for by the law.

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The EFJ represents over 260 000 journalists in more than countries.