Judgment reinforces the protection of journalistic sources

As posted on the highly informative ECHR Blog, the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights reversed an earlier judgment in the case of Sanoma Uitgevers B.V. v. the Netherlands, relating to the disclosure of information by journalists.

Principle 4 of the Recommendation stipulates that ‘sanctions against journalists for not disclosing information identifying a source should only be imposed by judicial authorities during court proceedings which allow for a hearing of the journalists concerned in accordance with Article 6 of the European Convention (“fair trial”)’.

The explanatory memorandum of Recommendation 2000/7 went a step further prescribing that ‘judicial authorities ordering search or seizure of journalistic material should limit their search and seizure order with respect to the protection of a journalist’s source‘.

The Court’s judgment of 14 September 2010 has now further clarified and developed these principles into strict procedural safeguards, and can thus be deemed to reinforce the protection of journalistic sources.

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