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HFHR statement on respect for reporter’s privilege

The Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights wishes to express its deep concern over the media reports on the actions performed by the Internal Security Agency on 18 June 2014 at the offices of the Wprost weekly magazine.

We would like to emphasise that any law enforcement agency’s request for disclosure of materials which may contain data identifying journalists’ confidential sources of information, bring about the risk of violating the guarantees available by virtue of reporter’s privilege.

“One must note that according to the case law of the European Court of Human Rights reporter’s privilege is violated not only by a direct order to disclose a source of information, made against a journalist during a police interview or a court hearing, but also any other actions taken by law enforcement authorities or other services, such as searches of editorial offices conducted in order to identify persons responsible for leaking confidential information to the media”, reads the statement from the Helsinki Foundation.

Considering the above standards, the HFHR wishes to underscore that any action taken by the state which restricts the guarantees arising under reporter’s privilege must be proportionate, adequate, specifically justified and strictly supervised, and may be used only when other, less invasive methods fail to serve their purpose.

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