The Malta Independent 9 August 2020, Sunday

Protection of sources is a democratic cornerstone - IGM

Saturday, 11 July 2020, 12:50 Last update: about 29 days ago

The Institute of Maltese Journalists reiterates that protecting journalistic sources is the cornerstone of the Freedom of the Press following attempts to put journalistic leaks under criminal investigation.

A recent fact-sheet published by the Council of Europe listed a series of landmark judgements on the issue of protection of sources. The case-law of the European Court of Human Rights shows clearly that the right of journalists not to disclose their sources is not a mere privilege to be granted or taken away but is part and parcel of the right to information.

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Case-law also shows that juridically this aspect of the practicing journalist’s tools is treated with the utmost caution. Without effective 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. In the light of the repeated defence of the great importance and protection given to journalistic sources by the highest European court, the IĠM takes a very dim view of a leader of a party who tries to attack the media and its sources.

Noting the discourse in the recent early morning press-conference by Dr Adrian Delia, the IĠM stands by the journalists in question and reminds leaders that the need to respect confidentiality of sources is a legal democratic need not a political luxury, the IGM said.

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