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Foundation’s statement in the case of a journalist under surveillance

The HFHR has made a statement on the action for the protection of personal interests filed by Bogdan Wróblewski against the Head of the CBA. The case concerns the journalist’s telecommunications data, including his phone records, obtained by the Bureau in years 2005-2007. The HFHR participates in the proceedings as a community representative.

In the Foundation’s opinion the activities taken by the CBA violated personal interests of Mr Wróblewski, both as a citizen and a journalist.

By checking the phone records of the claimant the Bureau learned where and with whom Mr Wróblewski had tried to get in touch. The HFHR believes that obtaining access to such information is a violation of the claimant’s right to privacy. Furthermore, using these investigative methods may have a particularly serious impact on journalists, since they violate the reporter’s privilege and invalidate all the protection granted under this principle.

The Foundation notes that obtaining telecommunication data is a drastic interference with the constitutional rights and freedoms and a decision to apply this measure cannot be made arbitrarily. The Wróblewski case illustrates a broader problem of journalists’ surveillance by the law-enforcement agencies. For this reason, a judgement, to be rendered in this case by the Warsaw Court, will have a substantial impact on the agency’s practice with respect to the application of measures interfering with the civil rights and liberties.

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