The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its European group the Federation of Journalists (EFJ) have welcomed the decision of the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on 28 June in case of protection of sources brought by journalists against France, following the searches of the newsrooms of the French newspapers, L’Equipe and Le Point, and the confiscations of material conducted on 13 January.
“This is a victory for all European journalists,” stated Stephen Pearse, EFJ General Secretary. “But it is also a wake-up call for the political, judiciary and police authorities of all Member States, particularly France, which haven’t yet understood the rules of the democratic game concerning press freedom”.
This case arose as the French magistrates and investigators wanted to access to the sources in a doping affair within the Cofidis team. Given that the French judiciary system failed to recognize a violation of article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in the case, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate in France, the National Union of Journalists (SNJ) lodged an application before the European Court of Human Rights.
The European Court not only reaffirmed its jurisprudence in this regard but also extended it, stressing that “the rights of journalists to protect their sources shall not be considered as a privilege that can be granted or withdrawn on the basis of the legality or illegality of these sources, but shall be considered as an inalienable right to information commanding the highest considerable.”
In other words, the protection of sources is an inherent feature of the right to information, which has nothing to do with the nature of these sources.
The EFJ is the European group of the
International Federation of Journalists
The EFJ represents over 260,000 journalists in 30 countries
For more information contact the EFJ at +32 2 235.2200