EFJ 2003: Resolution on Protection of Sources

EFJ Annual Meeting, Prague, 24-25 May, 2003

2. Resolution on protection of sources

Submitted by NUJ, Ireland

This Annual Meeting (AM) condemns the increasing attempts through legal action to force journalists to reveal their sources. The past twelve months have seen three cases in the UK involving sources: Ashworth Hospital against the Daily Mirror freelance Robin Ackroyd, the Interbrew case and one involving the Manchester based Evening News reporter, Steve Panter. ITN is already contesting in the courts to protect two of its journalists, reporter Alex Thompson and former producer Lena Ferguson, after they refused to disclose the identity of soldiers who took part in a programme they made in 1997.

The EFJ reaffirms that freedom of expression and the right to know appears to count for nothing as companies, the courts and the UK government undermine the journalists’ right to report.

These cases touch the core of press rights and the EFJ should continue to speak up for press freedom in the face of this form of bullying from the courts and do everything in its power to reaffirm the importance of protecting journalists’ rights to maintain confidentially of their sources.

AM instructs the Steering Committee to:

  1. continue to give support to journalists who are asked to disclose their sources;

  2. take every opportunity to lobby governments, the judiciary and the European Parliament and work with employers and their organisations to strengthen the rights and freedom of journalists to investigate, without judicial pressure to reveal their sources and

  3. reinforce the Europe-wide efforts involving all its affiliates to strengthen existing, or bring in new legislation in support for journalists protecting confidential sources;

  4. endorse the conclusions of the seminar ‘Protection of Sources under Fire’ held in Prague on May 23, 2003.