The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ), the European group of the IFJ, today called for better protection of sources in France after the latest case against a journalist who has refused to reveal a confidential source.
“It is urgent that a protection of sources law is passed in France”, said EFJ Chair Arne König. “Unfortunately we are not surprised by this event, which happened the day before a delegation of French journalists’ unions meet with the Ministry of Justice to ask for this law, which has been promised for several years.”
On December 6, Le Monde reporter Guillaume Dasquié was accused of “compromising national defence intelligence.” The charges stem from an article published on April 17th where he revealed classified reports showing that French intelligence services knew of some Al Qaeda plans, including a potential plot to highjack an airplane. Dasquié has refused to name the person who gave him the information.
Defence Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie opened a court case against him in April. On Wednesday intelligence services searched his home and interrogated him.
“There is no doubt that this journalist is now under pressure to reveal his source even though this information is of public interest,” said König. “It’s not the journalist who should take the blame in this case.”
The EFJ says that France has been condemned several times by the European Court of Human Rights for similar charges used to find journalists’ sources.
On September 10 the EFJ sent a letter to French Justice Minister Rachida Dati to support demands from French journalists for better protection of sources legislation. On November 29, a delegation of journalists’ unions met with Culture Minister Christine Albanel. Today journalists are meeting Ministry of Justice officials to discuss protection of sources.
Recently the EFJ warned of the increasing state interference in the media industry in Europe and around the word after a global study by Privacy International showed that many countries do not have adequate protection for journalists’ sources.
To read the report click here: http://www.privacyinternational.org/silencingsources
For more information contact the EFJ at 32 2 235 2200
The EFJ represents over 250,000 journalists in more than 30 countries