EFJ Calls on EU to Strike Better Balance Between Freedom of Expression and Privacy Rights


European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the

International Federation of Journalists, calls on European legislators today to

strengthen the journalists' rights by improving the balance between the

fundamental rights of freedom of expression and an individual's right to privacy

when reviewing European data protection legislation.


call came after a recent ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) which

denied an applicant's right of access to a public document regarding

anti-competitive behaviour on personal privacy grounds that is protected under

current data protection regulation.


judgement of the Court on 30 June exposes the current imbalance in reconciling two

fundamental rights: freedom of information and protection of personal privacy,"

said Arne König,

EFJ President.


legitimate concern to protect privacy and personal data by legislation should

not infringe the fundamental right to freedom of expression and freedom of

information as laid down in Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights



legislators should create a legal framework in which journalists are free to fulfil

their task of investigating and informing the public in a transparent, ethical

and accountable editorial environment," König stressed.


European Commission is currently reviewing the Data Protection Directive(95/46/EC),

a European legislative instrument that regulates the processing of personal

data. In the response to the Commission's consultation, the EFJ urges the

Commission to pay special attention to the incompatibility of the Directive

with Article 10 of the ECHR and to strictly follow the principles of the

Council of Europe stated on 29 May 2009 in the Reykjavik

Declaration to respect freedom of expression

and freedom of information. 


EFJ also warned the Commission to take into account the principle of protecting

the confidentiality of journalists' sources of information when reviewing the

legislation. "Journalists fear that data protection legislation could

increasingly be used as a means to prevent investigative journalism," said the



policy-makers must uphold and clarify the existing exemption that allows

journalists and media organisations to process personal data for journalistic

purpose," the EFJ stressed.

For more

information contact the EFJ at  +32 2 235

The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in over 30 countries across