HFHR on standards of protection of reporter’s privilege
The HFHR issued a statement on the search of the editorial offices of the Fakty i Mity weekly magazine, conducted by the law enforcement authorities. The statement recalled the need to respect the reporter’s privilege and protect journalistic sources in the face of all activities of the law enforcement services.
“The reporter’s privilege – which includes the protection of personal sources of information – is an important prerequisite for media independence and the media’s performance of the control function towards the public authorities”, reads the statement.
In its statement, the HFHR refers to the media reports on the actions of the Police Central Bureau of Investigation at the editorial offices of Fakty i Mity. The HFHR reminded that “any law enforcement agency’s request for disclosure of materials that may contain data identifying journalists’ confidential sources of information, brings about the risk of violating the guarantees available by virtue of the reporter’s privilege”.
The HFHR also noted that according to the standards developed in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, reporter’s privilege is violated not only by a direct order to disclose a source of information, made against a journalist during a police interview or a court hearing, but also any other actions taken by law enforcement authorities, including searches of editorial offices.
Moreover, the HFHR argued that a journalist’s right to keep a source of information confidential cannot be regarded as a standard privilege but constitutes an integral part of the right to information.