Afrique Ameriques Asie Moyen-Orient Internet Nations unies
France4 May 2005

Police challenge to confidentiality of sources on World Press Freedom Day

Reporters Without Borders voiced dismay today at the action of plain-clothes police from Orleans in interrogating two journalists with Le Berry Républicain daily newspaper yesterday in an attempt to get them to reveal their sources for their reports about a murder investigation.

"It is particularly shocking and untimely that, as World Press Freedom Day was being celebrated all over the world, gendarmes questioned two journalists and tried to find out their sources as part of a preliminary enquiry into a supposed breach of the secrecy of a crime investigation," the press freedom organization said.

"The confidentiality of journalists’ sources is an inviolable principle that allows no exceptions," Reporters Without Borders said, stressing that it is recognized by article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and article 109-2 of the French code of criminal procedure.

Furthermore, in a famous ruling on 27 March 1996 in Goodwin v. United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rights defined the protection of sources as one of the cornerstones of press freedom, the organization added

Without previously notifying Le Berry Républicain, three plain-clothes members of the Orleans gendarmerie entered the newspaper’s bureau in Issoudun at around 10 a.m. yesterday and questioned a journalist for an hour in an unsuccessful attempt to get her to disclose the sources for the reports she and another journalist wrote for the 30 April, 2 May and 3 May issues about a local murder in which the body has never been found. The reports were headlined, "Body still cannot be found", "Body’s scant traces" and "Details of the murder without a body."

The gendarmes also went to the newspaper’s head office in Bourges at 1:30 p.m. to talk to the other journalist, who is in charge of its crime section. As he had the day off, they then went to his home to question him about the sources for the reports.

The deputy state prosecutor in Châteauroux ordered the interrogation of the two journalists because of a supposed breach of the murder investigation’s confidentiality. Le Berry Républicain editor Bernard Stéphan said he was "shocked" and added, "even if they had sources, they would obviously not give them."

  In this country
29 May - France
Regrettable decision by appeal court to lift ban on magazine only if offending photo is covered up
12 May - France
TV reporter cleared of inciting teenager in body piercing “suspension”
2 April - France
“Dangerous trend” condemned after anti-crime unit questions four journalists over Sarkozy video
26 March - France
Two website journalists summoned for questioning about Sarkozy video
4 March - France
Anger over new case of journalists being treated as “police auxiliaries or even criminals”

in the annual report
France - Annual Report 2008
France - Annual report 2007
France - 2006 Annual report

Europe press releases
4 June - Kosovo
Rrokum TV station still excluded by national broadcasting network
2 June - Ukraine
Potential witness’s death deals severe blow to probe into journalist’s murder
2 June - Turkey
Woman journalist held for past five weeks on baseless charge of link to armed group
2 June - Russia
Journalist seeks asylum in Finland after being convicted for prison torture articles
28 May - Azerbaijan
Court breaks law by refusing to release journalist on health grounds

5 February 2009 - Bulgaria
“Resignation or resistance, Bulgaria’s embattled press hesitates”
28 January 2009 - Russia
Fact-finding visit : Moscow double murder may have been linked to November attack on local newspaper editor
27 June 2008 - Turkey
Investigation report into the detention of journalist Haci Bogatekin, imprisoned for more than two months and facing ten and a half years in prison

Sign the petitions
Jusuf Ruzimuradov

Europe archives
2009 archives
2008 archives
2007 archives
2006 archives
2005 archives
2004 archives
2003 archives
2002 archives
2001 archives
2000 archives