01 March 2009
EFJ Policy Document on Protection of Sources (Last update 2010)
Why and how must journalistic sources be protected?
The right to protection of journalistic sources is well recognized in international law. It has been specifically recognized by the United Nations, Council of Europe, Organisation of American States, African Union, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. The European Court of Human Rights has found in several cases that it is an essential part of freedom of expression.
A significant number of countries now recognize the protection of journalists’ sources. In most countries with laws, there appear to be few cases where journalists are required to disclose source information. The right of protection of sources is more threatened in a number of jurisdictions without laws. National security claims are also threatening protections in many nations.
The purpose of this document, inspired by the “Silencing the sources” report by Privacy International is to define «basic criteria» who should help member unions to decide whether it’s preferable or not to get a law protecting the journalistic sources, and /or the help them evaluate law proposals debated in various European Parliaments.