16 Sep 2016 Lvl. 2
Alert created on: 09 Sep 2016 Switzerland
Swiss Intelligence Act threatens Secrecy of Journalistic Sources
The three main journalists’ organisations in Switzerland, impressum, syndicom and SSM, have condemned the draft Intelligence Act (Lrens) that is currently being put to a Referendum. According to the organisations representing journalists, this draft is a threat to the protection of journalistic sources and thus the right of Swiss citizens to be fully informed. The reservations foreseen under the Act in favour of people who are subject to professional secrecy, including journalists, do not sufficiently guarantee the protection of whistler blowers’ anonymity which is key to disclosing information in the interest of the public. The three journalists’ organisations also condemn the means granted to intelligence services to access private exchanges of communication of journalists. Concretely, the text legalises the practice, to be carried out by the intelligence services (Service de renseignement de la Confédération), of a particularly broad and intrusive surveillance of the private lives of citizens, without any real counter- power. The organisations of journalists demand that the law contains explicit guarantees to ensure that the protection of sources cannot be bypassed by the power granted to authorities to access private communications of journalists and whistleblowers.
16 Sep 2016
Reply by the Swiss authorities