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HFHR on surveillance of journalists

“Pursuant to the standards developed within the framework of the Council of Europe, any activities of state bodies taken against journalists in order to identify their personal sources of information may lead to interference with the reporter’s privilege”, reads statement of the Helsinki Foundation on the information presented by Mariusz Kamiński, cabinet minister in charge of coordination of special services.

The HFHR emphasises that all methods of spying on journalists such as eavesdropping, analysing online activity or accessing phone records are a major threat to the reporter’s privilege.

In the statement the Foundation declares to sustain the monitoring of any further developments in the case. At the same time, the HFHR says it is ready to provide legal support to those of the affected reporters who would like to vindicate their rights violated by the alleged surveillance.

Moreover, the HFHR expresses its concern over the public disclosure of a list of the names of the journalists reportedly subject to operational and surveillance activities of special services in 2007-2015 that was made by the Chancellery of the President of the Council of Ministers in social media. “We should underscore that any disclosure of journalists’ names that occurs in such a situation must be done very carefully and only after all the persons concerned agree to this”, reads the statement. The Helsinki Foundation emphasises that any such information, if made public, may additionally stigmatise the journalists named in the list and adversely affect their work by putting them at risk of losing informers’ trust.

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