The topic of new LRG is Protection of Journalistic Sources.There have been a large number of cases in which public authorities in Europe have forced, or attempted to force, journalists to disclose their sources. The European Court of Human Rights has reiterated that Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights safeguards not only the substance and contents of information and ideas, but also the means of transmitting it. The press has been accorded the broadest scope of protection in the Court’s case law, including with regard to confidentiality of journalistic sources.
Protection of journalistic sources is one of the basic conditions for press freedom. … Without such protection, sources may be deterred from assisting the press in informing the public on matters of public interest. As a result the vital public-watchdog role of the press may be undermined, and the ability of the press to provide accurate and reliable information be adversely affected. … [A]n order of source disclosure … cannot be compatible with Article 10 of the Convention unless it is justified by an overriding requirement in the public interest.
(Goodwin v. the United Kingdom, judgment of 27 March 1996, § 39).
The Council of Europe has found that violations are more frequent in member states without clear legislation. Moreover, in cases of investigative journalism, the protection of sources is of even greater importance. To shed light on this issue, ELSA has partnered with the Media and Internet Division of the Directorate General of Human Rights and Rule of Law in the Council of Europe to understand how journalistic sources are being protected in each Member-State.