The European Federation of Journalist (EFJ), the European group of the
International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), today strongly protested against
proposals for the draft legislation in Finland which would compel
journalists to reveal their sources in certain criminal cases.
bill is unbelievable. Protection of sources is a cornerstone of independent
journalism and the free flow of information. Journalists have to be certain
that media freedom is secured and journalists' sources have to be sure that
their protection is guaranteed. Otherwise, the media are incapable of performing their
duty in a democratic system," says Arto Nieminen, Chairman of the Union of Journalists
commission set up by the Finnish Ministries of Interior and justice proposed
disclosure of journalists' sources of information in criminal cases "involving a
suspicion of serious breach of confidentiality". In such cases journalists could no longer be
covered by the legal protection of the sourcse which is guaranteed in current
legislation and could be ordered by courts to reveal their sources of
information even in preliminary investigations before the case goes to trial.
current legislation allows for revealing the sources of a journalist in
preliminary investigation only in criminal cases which carries a mandatory
minimum sentence of six years imprisonment upon
conviction. Such cases include robbery, aggravated violence and serious narcotic
"Confidentiality of journalists' sources is a press freedom right according to the European
Convention on Human Rights and the case law of the European Court of Human
Rights," reminded the EFJ President Arne König. "This proposal is dangerous and
we are particularly worried that it comes a few weeks after serious attacks on
protection of sources in the UK
and in Luxembourg.
It has to be clear to everybody that journalist's sources need to be protected for the media have to
play their role of democracy watchdog."
The EFJ suggests that the law should explicitly
include an exemption concerning the publishing of information of vital interest
for the public and it refers to the policy document that was recently published
on its website: http://europe.ifj.org/en/articles/efj-policy-document-on-protection-of-sources
The EFJ supports the Union of Journalists of Finland and calls on
the authorities to respect press freedom and protection of sources.
more information, please contact the EFJ at +32 2 235 2200
EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists
in more than 30 countries of Europe