Finland: EFJ Protests Against "Threatening" Bill on Protection of Sources

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

of Finland. 


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

drug-related crimes.

"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:

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