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not be considered as a privilege that can be granted or withdrawn on the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