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Recommendation of the Parliamentary Assembly on the protection of journalists' sources

  Relevance of this Recommendation for Information society and Internet governance
Paragraph 9

Insofar as Article 10 of the Convention protects the right of the public to be informed on matters of public concern, anyone who has knowledge or information about facts of public concern should be able to either post it confidentially on third-party media, including Internet networks, or submit it confidentially to journalists.

Paragraph 11 In the same manner as the media landscape has changed through technological convergence, the professional profile of journalists has changed over the last decade. Modern media rely increasingly on mobile and Internet-based communication services. They use information and images originating from non-journalists to a larger extent. Non-journalists publish their own or third-party information and images on their own or third-party Internet media, accessible to a wide and often undefined audience. Under these circumstances, it is necessary to clarify the application of the right of journalists not to disclose their sources of information.
Paragraph 12

The Assembly reaffirms that the confidentiality of journalistsí sources must not be compromised by the increasing technological possibilities for public authorities to control the use by journalists of mobile telecommunication and Internet media. The interception of correspondence, surveillance of journalists or search and seizure of information must not circumvent the protection of journalistsí sources. Internet service providers and telecommunication companies should not be obliged to disclose information which may lead to the identification of journalistsí sources in violation of Article 10 of the Convention.

Paragraph 13 Referring to the European Unionís Directive 2006/24/EC of 15 March 2006 on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks, the Assembly insists on the need to ensure that legal provisions enacted by member states when transposing this Directive are consistent with the right of journalists not to disclose their sources under Article 10 of the Convention and with the right to privacy under Article 8 of the Convention. The Assembly also stresses the importance of ensuring coherency of the domestic legislation with Articles 16 and 17 of the Convention on Cybercrime (ETS No. 185) ("the Budapest Convention"). The right of journalists not to disclose their sources of information is a professional privilege, intended to encourage sources to provide important information to journalists that they would not give without a commitment to confidentiality. The same relationship of trust does not exist with regard to non-journalists, such as individuals with their own website or web blog. Therefore, non-journalists cannot benefit from the right of journalists not to reveal their sources.
Paragraph 15 The right of journalists not to disclose their sources of information is a professional privilege, intended to encourage sources to provide important information to journalists that they would not give without a commitment to confidentiality. The same relationship of trust does not exist with regard to non-journalists, such as individuals with their own website or web blog. Therefore, non-journalists cannot benefit from the right of journalists not to reveal their sources.
Related website(s)
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

 

Document(s)

 

 

Recommendation 1950 (2011) The protection of journalistsí sources